Roland de Lassus, originally from Mons, lit up the 16th century with his musical genius by adopting a new approach to sacred music. His work was as diverse as it was prolific, earning him the nickname of “the prince of musicians”.
A prodigal son, renowed throughout Europe
Talent does not take any notice of age, and Roland de Lassus, born in Mons in 1532, was noticed very early on in his musical education. An altar boy at Saint-Nicolas Church in Mons, the story goes that he was taken away when he was 12 to offer his singing talents to Ferrante Gonzaga, a general under Charles V. The first nine years that he spent in Italy led to him being appointed maestro di cappella at the Basilica of Saint John Lateran, the most famous basilica in Rome, when he was just 21. Recognition of his vocal talents gave him the opportunity to work with many European courts, and he went on to found Lassus’ chapel in Munich’s court in 1563.