Isaac, Heinrich

Date of birth: c.1450
Date of death: 1517

Heinrich Isaac (c. 1450-1517) is born in the Netherlands (Brabant, now Belgium) and like in so many biographies of early composers, very little is known about his education. He worked for Lorenzo de’ Medici in Florence, at the time that the great sculptor and painter Michelangelo Buonarotti worked at the same court. His first appearance in literature is in 1484, as a singer for Duke Sigismund of Austria (House of Habsburg). The following year he worked in Florence in several churches. In 1496 he moved to Vienna where he got an appointment at the court of Emperor Maximilian in 1497. He was very famous and appreciated indeed in those days. In 1502 he wrote a mass on the occasion of his application for the d’Este court in Ferrara, which he did not acquire. In 1512 he moved to a smaller house; this was a sign that his reputation was in decline. In his best days he was very prolific: he wrote more that 30 masses, 50 sacred motets, 20 Italian madrigals, over 35 German Lieder, and several secular motets in Latin.
Cees Wagemakers, 2018