Johannes Ciconia

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Born: c.1335 or c.1370

Died: June/July 1412

Biography: Johannes Ciconia was a late medieval composer and music theorist. He has possibly been conflated with his father of the same name in some biographical accounts, hence the uncertainty over his date of birth. All the composer's works are believed to date from later than about 1390.

Ciconia was born in Liège. A Johannes Ciconia, probably the composer's father, worked in Avignon in 1350 as a clerk for the wife of the nephew of Pope Clement VI. In 1358 this Johannes Ciconia settled in Italy, working in Padua. During his time in Italy, he traveled widely as an adjuct of Cardinal Gil Alvarez De Albornoz and came into contact with all of the local musical styles; evidently, he incorporated what he heard into his music. In 1372, he returned to Liège, where he stayed for an unknown amount of time; he is known to have fathered a family there, although he remained unmarried.

A second musician by the name of Johannes Ciconia appears in records in Liège in 1385 as a duodenus, generally a person of young age, and thus more likely the composer himself. Papal records suggest that this Ciconia was in the service of Pope Boniface IX in Rome in 1391. A lament he wrote on the death of Francesco de Carrara has been securely dated to 1393, giving further evidence for his being in Italy at that time. When Ciconia moved to Padua is unknown — with the possibility of an intermediate stay in Pavia being strongly asserted by Di Bacco and Nádas — but it is understood that he was in Padua by 1401, where he remained until his death.

Ciconia is generally categorized as a composer of ars subtilior, the mannerist compositional school centered around Avignon at the end of the 1300s.

View the Wikipedia article on Johannes Ciconia.

List of choral works

Click here to search for this composer on CPDL


External links

Works by Johannes Ciconia in the Petrucci Music Library (IMSLP)