William Byrd: c.1540 – 4 July 1823

By | September 3, 2020


Head and Shoulders black and white portrait of English composer William Byrd

William Byrd was an English organist and composer around the Shakespearean time. He is known for his development of the English madrigal, but wrote in many forms including sacred and secular music polyphony, keyboard and consort music.


In 1563 Byrd was appointed organist at Lincoln Cathedral. Following this he returned to London in 1572 to become a gentleman at the Chapel Royal. He shared his post with Thomas Tallis whom he’d been a pupil of as a boy.

The Tallis and Byrd’s partnership was recognised by Elizabeth 1 who permitted them a monopoly for importing, printing, publishing and sale of music and the printing of music paper. Their first work was dedicated to the Queen which was a collection of Cantiones sacrae.

In 1568 he married and had at least seven children.

Further Reading & Downloads

On music-scores.com we have an arrangement of William Byrd’s Ego Sum Panis Vivus.  For further information take a look at Wikipedia and Britannica.

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