Composer. An ordained priest, he was Maestro of Rome's St. Apollinaris Church (then part of the German College) from 1630 until his death. Carissimi was the first great writer of oratorios, choral settings of religious themes in semi-operatic style. The most notable of them is "Jeptha" (1650). Recognizing that certain churches did not have the resources to put on oratorios, he also invented the church cantata, a vocal work in a similar vein but more modest in scale and requiring far fewer performers. Handel was profoundly influenced by Carissimi and even wrote his own version of "Jeptha"; and J. S. Bach wrote over 300 church cantatas based on Carissimi's model. Carissimi's tomb was destroyed when St. Apollinaris Church was completely rebuilt in the 1740's.
Bio by: Bobb Edwards