She Quickened the Pulse of 17th-Century Music

Dec 23, 2019 210

BY: Bonnie Gordon

Like many celebrated musicians, Barbara Strozzi has a Facebook page with thousands of followers. Though in this, her 400th birthday year, she’s hardly a household name like Beethoven or Mozart, the page is active with announcements of concerts, album releases and articles.

Named “la virtuosissima cantatrice” — the most dazzling singer — by a contemporary, Strozzi published eight volumes of music between 1644 and 1677, more than any composer of any gender in 17th-century Venice. Her adoptive father, the powerful poet Giulio Strozzi, nourished her career as a singer, composer, thinker and producer — a career that was wildly successful by any standard. In fact, she’s more famous today than celebrated male contemporaries like Luigi Rossi, Giacomo Carissimi and Antonio Cesti.

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