Strozzi, Barbara (1619–1664)

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Strozzi, Barbara (1619–1664)

Italian composer. Born in Venice, Italy, in 1619; died in Venice in 1664; daughter of Isabella Briega (some sources cite Garzoni) and stepdaughter of Giulio Strozzi (a famous poet, librettist, and dramatist, who adopted Barbara at age nine as her parents were not married); studied with Francesco Cavalli.

Published her first volume of madrigals on texts by her stepfather (1644); published op. 2, Cantate, arietta, e duetti (1651) and op. 8 in Venice.

Born in Venice in 1619, Barbara Strozzi grew up in the house of her mother Isabella Briega (some sources cite Garzoni) and her stepfather Giulio Strozzi, a famous poet, librettist, and dramatist. He adopted Barbara at age nine, as her biological father had not married her mother. It was a musical and literary family, and she was encouraged by her stepfather to make music her career. Strozzi's musical pursuits were limited, however, to the Accademia degli Unisoni, founded by her stepfather as a showcase for her talents. Most of her compositions, mainly vocal chamber music which was ideally suited for drawing rooms, were performed in homes rather than at court or on stage. Many of her texts came from lyrical poetry, often about some dramatic event or unrequited love. Strozzi was one of the era's most prolific composers. In the eight volumes she published between 1644 and 1664, there were over 100 works, mostly arias and secular cantatas.

John Haag , Athens, Georgia