Composer. The most significant Spanish musician of the Renaissance period. Victoria was a priest and his sacred music combines intense religious mysticism with direct emotional appeal to listeners. Of his art he once wrote, "Music is not man's invention, but his heritage from the blessed spirits. Music describes the very being of God...it can affect for good or ill the body as well as the mind". Victoria was born in Avila, Spain, and was a choirboy in the Cathedral there. His musical gifts were recognized early and in 1564 he was sent to Rome at the expense of King Philip II. He may have studied with composer Giovanni da Palestrina and his style was definitely influenced by the Italian master. Victoria took Holy Orders in 1569 and was ordained in 1575. After serving as music director of several Roman churches he returned to Spain in 1587. That year Philip II appointed him as chaplain to his sister, the Dowager Empress Maria, who had retired to the Convent Descalazas Reales in Madrid; he remained at the convent until his death. Victoria wrote exclusively for the church. His compositions include a great Requiem (1603), music for the Holy Week Service (1585), 20 Masses, and 44 motets; most were published during his lifetime, suggesting that he had wealthy patrons. Forgotten after his death, Victoria's music enjoyed a revival in the late 20th Century, one that is still going strong today.
Bio by: Bobb Edwards