Alessandro Striggio

Alessandro Striggio (c. 1536/1537 – February 29, 1592) was an Italian composer, instrumentalist and diplomat of the Renaissance. He composed numerous madrigals as well as dramatic music, and by combining the two, became the inventor of madrigal comedy. His son, also named Alessandro Striggio, wrote the libretto for Monteverdi's Orfeo.

Striggio senior was born in Mantua, evidently to an aristocratic family. Records of his early life are sparse, but he must have gone to Florence as a young man, since he had become well-connected to the Medici by about 1560; in 1567 they sent him on a diplomatic mission to England. Throughout the 1560s Striggio composed numerous intermedi for the Medici, for weddings, visits, and other state occasions. In the 1570s he continued to work for the Medici, but there is some evidence he began to travel away from Florence. He had some connection to the Bavarian court in Munich, and may have gone there on more than one occasion (possibly for the performance of his 40-voice motet Ecce beatam lucem which he wrote for a royal marriage there). He became friends with Vincenzo Galilei, the father of the astronomer, during the 1570s; whether or not he was a member of the Florentine Camerata is uncertain.

During the 1580s he began an association with the Este court in Ferrara. Ferrara was one of Italy's avant-garde centers of musical composition in the 1580s and 1590s, and Striggio composed music in the progressive madrigal style he heard there, evidently commissioned by the Medici. This music unfortunately is lost. In 1586 Striggio moved to Mantua where he remained for the rest of his life, although he retained a close association with the Medici, composing music for them at least as late as 1589.