Born May 15, 1567 in Cremona, Italy
Died November 29, 1643 in Venice, Italy
Claudio Monteverdi began his musical life as a choir boy in Cremona, Italy. He studied music and published serval books of his compositions when he was very young — some of his most famous books of music were published when he was only 20! At age 23, Monteverdi was hired by the Duke of Mantua, Italy to serve as a string player in his court. Monteverdi married a court singer in 1599 and they had three children together before she died only 8 years after they married. Monteverdi was not very happy with is job in Mantua because he was not paid well for his work. Soon, he took a very prestigious job as the music director at St. Mark's Cathedral in Venice, Italy. He worked at St. Mark's Cathedral for the rest of his life.
Monteverdi is especially known for his contributions to opera. One of his most famous opera compostions is L'Orfeo. Monteverdi wrote his last opera when he was 75 years old — just one year before he died! He also composed other types of music: masses (music that accompanies a full service in the Catholic and Anglican churches), motets (unaccompanied choral compositions that are based on sacred texts), and madrigals (choral pieces that are often patterned after poetry and tell a story). He is known for being able to compose wonderful music that was both religious (sacred) and non-religious (secular).