Female Catholic Composers


Caterina Assandra was born in Pavia in 1590, where she received musical education from Benedetto Re, the maestro di capella at the cathedral. She later took vows at Benedictine convent in 1609, however her motets appear in each of Re's publications. She did continue to compose and publish after joining the convent.

Not much is known of her life; the convent she joined was ancient and isolated, but some of her music survives, particularly in volumes of sacred music. She is known for the emotional poetry in her compositions, which she likely wrote herself.

Though few pieces survive and her life is shrouded in mystery, Caterina's impact is not negligible; her motets were the first Roman style compositions to be published in Milan. Additionally, her innovatory setting of Duo seraphim may have inspired Montverdi's setting of the same.1 5‚Äč

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