Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck
b. Deventer, May 1562
d. Amsterdam, October 16, 1621
Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck, Dutch organist, harpsichordist, composer, and
teacher, spent most of his life in Amsterdam. In 1580 he became the organist
of the Oude Kerk (Old Church) succeeding his father, Pieter. Though he
never ventured much out of Holland, Sweelinck's influence spread through the
North German organ school via his students, who include Scheidt,
Scheidemann, Praetorius, and Hasse.
Sweelinck's compositional style was also highly influential. He was the
first to use independent pedal parts, including fugue subjects in the pedal
line. He took many important forms from around Europe, including the Italian
ricercar and the English virginal style, expanding and developing them in
ways unknown before. In fact, many of his pieces contain the embryo of the
fugue form, later perfected by J. S. Bach. His compositions bridge the gap
from the Renaissance to the Baroque periods.
Points of Interest
- Members of the Sweelinck family served as organists of the Oude Kerk in
Amsterdam for nearly one hundred consecutive years.
- Echo Fantasies