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Diego Ortiz

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Dec 15, 2021

Diego Ortiz (c. 1510 – c. 1576) was a Spanishcomposer and music theorist in service to the viceroy of Naples ruled by the spanish monarchs Charles V and Philip II. Ortiz published the first manual on ornamentation for bowed string instruments, and a large collection of sacred vocal compositions.[1]


Performed by Phillip W. Serna, Treble, Tenor & Bass Viols with Lute

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Portrait of Diego Ortiz from the title page of his Trattado de Glosas (1553)

. . . Diego Ortiz . . .

Very little is known about Ortiz’s life. He is believed to have been born in Toledo and probably died in Rome, where its trail is lost.

Portraits of Diego Ortiz from Trattado de Glossas (left) and from Veronese’s “The Wedding at Cana” second unknown viola-gambist (right)

In 1553 Ortiz was living in the viceroyalty of Naples. Five years later, the third duke of Alba, Fernando Álvarez de Toledo, appointed him maestro di cappella of the Chapel Royal of Naples. In 1565 Ortiz still held the post under the Viceroy Pedro Afán de Ribera, duke of Alcalá. A recent study[2] suggests that Diego Ortiz could have been the model for a very relevant personage in the famous work of Paolo Caliari VeroneseThe Wedding at Cana“, based on the instrumental ensemble represented by the painter, the edition date of Ortiz’s second book Musices liber primus in Venice, the repeated confusions[3] and misattributions[4] about this person in the literature down to the present, and the striking resemblance of the painted character with the only known engraved portrait of the musician.

Recent findings reveal that, after his service to the Spanish Neapolitan Court, as Maestro di Cappella appeared, as “famigliare“, in the Colonna’s Court in Rome, at least from April 1572 to September 1576.[5]

. . . Diego Ortiz . . .

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. . . Diego Ortiz . . .