The Kennedy Center

Johannes Ciconia



Biography

Johannes Ciconia was a Franco-Flemish composer in the late middle Ages and pre-Renaissance era. His music embraced the qualities and strength of both ages.  This often over looked composer’s works include both secular and sacred music. 
 
He was born in Liège, the son of a priest also named Johannes Ciconia and a woman of prominent in society.  In many biographical accounts father and son have been treated as one person. Events of his early years of his life are so confused, so much so that it is often difficult to sort out the facts.
 
He was said to have been a cleric, even though it is unclear whether he actually was a priest.  There is documentation stating that a “Ciconia” served as a choir boy in 1385 at the Liège Church, St. Jean l'Évangéliste.  But other canons, suggests it was most probably the composer's father and the year 1370 is more likely around the time of composer Johannes Ciconia actual birth.  With all of these contradictions nothing can be supported.
 
For most of his life until his death in 1412, he remained connected to the cathedral of Padua.  It is unclear whether he arrived in Padua earlier than 1401.  Johannes Ciconia is believed to have served Cardinal d'Alençon in Rome around the 1390s as clericus capelle, an important job that was usually occupied by younger musicians.  In 1401, Johannes Ciconia took a job as chaplain at the cathedral in Padua and a benefice at St. Biagio di Roncalea Church, also in Padua.  In the years following his appointment at the cathedral, Ciconia was granted many benefits at nearby churches.  He wrote many of his composition pieces for wealthy patrons.  It is believed that the composer lived a very comfortable life with some measure of wealth, before his death in 1412.

Johannes Ciconia