White (or Whyte), Robert

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White (or Whyte), Robert

White (or Whyte), Robert, English composer; b. c. 1538; d. London, Nov. 1574. He was a chorister and subsequently one of the cantores at Trinity Coll., Cambridge, obtaining his Mus.B. from Cambridge (1560). In 1562 he was made Master of the Choristers at Ely Cathedral, a post formerly held by his father-in-law, Christopher Tye. He left his post in 1566 and by 1567 was Master of the Choristers at Chester Cathedral; in 1569 he assumed that post at Westminster Abbey, being formally confirmed in 1570. He died of the plague. While not as gifted a composer as Tye, he was nevertheless highly influential. His finest works are 2 sets of Lamentations. He was also one of the first English composers to write fantasias. See P. Buck et al., eds., Robert White, Tudor Church Music, V (1926), and I. Spector, ed., Robert White: The Instrumental Music, Recent Researches in the Music of the Renaissance, XII (1972).


D. Mateer, A Comparative Study and Critical Transcription of the Latin Sacred Music of R. W. (diss., Queen’s Univ., Belfast, 1976).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire