Jean (or Jehan) Titelouze was a French organist of the early Baroque period. Born in Saint-Omer, probably in 1562 or 1563, he died in Rouen on October 25, 1633. He is generally considered the founder of the French organ school.
The son of a musician, Titelouze came to Rouen at the age of 20, and he spent the rest of his life there. He became organist at the Saint-Jean church in 1585, then titular organist of the city's cathedral in 1588. This instrument was, at this time, one of the most brilliant ones in France, so we may assume that Titelouze, only 25 years old at the time, was already an outstanding player.
Appointed one of the cathedral chapter's canons in 1610, he acquired a great reputation as a composer, teacher, expert in organ making, music theorist and organist. As well as having numerous pupils, he was a friend of the great music scholar Marin Mersenne. The two men exchanged many letters, and Titelouze gave advice regarding Mersenne's main work, L'Harmonie Universelle, published from 1634 to 1637.
Titelouze's surviving output comprises two collections of organ pieces, the very first ones in 17th-century France. Less fanciful in style, more dogged, than the compositions of his somewhat younger contemporary Girolamo Frescobaldi, Titelouze's music shows a great knowledge of harmony, a skillful polyphony, and a monumental and severe character.
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