Johannes de Fossa

Johannes de Fossa’s date and place of birth are unknown. Up until his entry into the Munich court orchestra in 1569, de Fossa’s biography is documented incompletely. He probably comes from a Dutch family of musicians, in which his name appeared several times. In a copy he made himself, de Fossa referred to the composer Johannes Castileti – also known as Jean Guyot – as his teacher. De Fossa was probably Castileti’s pupil in the 1540s and 1550s in Liège. In 1569, de Fossa was finally appointed Vice Kapellmeister of the Munich court orchestra and held this office until Orlando di Lasso’s death in 1594. After di Lasso’s death, di Fossa took over his position as Munich court music director, although the official appointment did not take place until 1597. His merits were honored by de Fossa’s elevation to the imperial nobility. He died in Munich at Pentecost 1603, having had to resign from office a year earlier due to health problems.

Photo credit: Fossa, Johannes de: 7 Sacred songs – BSB 2757. Location: Munich, Bavarian State Library 2757.