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Guillaume Du Fay (French 5 August, c. 1397 – 27 November 1474) was a Franco-Flemish composer of the early Renaissance. A central figure in the Burgundian School, he was regarded by his contemporaries as one of the leading composers in Europe in the mid-15th century. His unique and complex motet "Nuper rosarum flores" demonstrates the influential exchange of musical ideas among artists around the world during the early Renaissance period.
From the evidence of his will, he was probably born in Beersel, in the vicinity of Brussels, the illegitimate child of an unknown priest and a woman named Marie Du Fayt. She moved with her son to Cambrai early in his life, staying with a relative who was a canon of the cathedral there. The link between the Du Fay family and the Cathedral of Cambrai is the sole reason a large amount of information is known about Du Fay's early life, as the institute kept detailed records on all affiliated persons. His musical gifts were noticed by the cathedral authorities, who evidently gave him a thorough training in music; he studied with Rogier de Hesdin during the summer of 1409, and he was listed as a choirboy in the cathedral from 1409–12. During those years he studied with Nicolas Malin, and the authorities must have been impressed with the boy's gifts because they gave him his own copy of Villedieu’s Doctrinale in 1411, a highly unusual event for one so young. In June 1414, aged around 16, he had already been given a benefice as chaplain at St. Géry, immediately adjacent to Cambrai.Later that year, on the evidence of music composed, and a later relationship with the Malatesta court, members of which he met on the trip, he probably went to the Council of Konstanz. He likely stayed there until 1418, at which time he returned to Cambrai.Wide ThumbClearartFanartBanner User Comments