(b Palermo, c 1582; d ?Modena, before 1629). It. composer and singer. Said to be of noble birth and spent 1600–10 travelling in It., visiting several courts. Probably met Monteverdi in Mantua 1606. Dir. of chamber mus. to the Duke of Savoy in Turin, 1611–23, during which period most of his mus. was written. Moved to Modena 1623–4, then to Rome where in 1625 his sacred opera Sant' Eustachio was perf. in Cardinal Maurizio's palace. Returned to Modena 1626. Regarded as most important composer of secular vocal mus. in early 17th-cent. It. after Monteverdi. Collections of his works were pubd. in Milan and Venice from 1609 to 1623. Blended styles of Marenzio, Wert, Gesualdo, and Monteverdi into a rich polyphonic style of his own, with daring harmonies and treatment of dissonance.
From The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music in Oxford Reference.