Palestrina, Giovanni Pierluigi da (jōvänˈnē pyārlōēˈjē päˌlāstrēˈnä) [key], c.1525–1594, Italian composer whose family name was Pierluigi; b. Palestrina, from which he took his name. Palestrina represents with Lasso the culmination of Renaissance music. In 1544 he was appointed organist at the cathedral in his native town. In 1550 the bishop of Palestrina became Pope Julius III and appointed (1551) Palestrina master of the Julian Chapel Choir. Palestrina's first book of masses appeared in 1554, dedicated to the pope. From 1555 to 1560 he was choirmaster of the Cathedral of St. John Lateran, for which he wrote his Lamentations, and from 1561 to 1566 he was choirmaster of Saint Mary Major. After several years in the private service of Ippolito II, Cardinal d'Este, he returned in 1571 to the Vatican to resume leadership of the Julian Chapel Choir. He was undisputed master of the mass, of which he wrote 105 for four, five, six, and eight voice parts. Best known is his Missa Papae Marcelli. He also wrote madrigals, motets, magnificats, offertories, litanies, and settings of the Song of Songs.
See biographies by E. M. King (1965), T. C. Day (1969), and J. Roche (1971).