400th Anniversary of William Byrd
July 4, 2023, marks the 400th anniversary of the death of one of England’s greatest composers, William Byrd (c. 1540–1623). Described as the "Parent of British Music," William Byrd was a composer, musician, teacher, and entrepreneur of singular stature. Though today Byrd is most remembered for his sacred choral music, he mastered and advanced every genre, producing a catalogue of nearly 600 pieces. Byrd’s Catholic faith at a time when Catholic worship was illegal adds another dimension to his music and has spurred modern fascination with his life. As a recusant Catholic serving a Protestant monarch in reformed England, Byrd was in a precarious position to say the least. So it is especially remarkable that he was unwavering in his beliefs and even published them in musical form at a time when many of his friends were facing persecution. Read on to learn more about this fascinating character and to hear a playlist of some of his greatest works.