Giovanni Croce (also Ioanne a Cruce Clodiensis) (1557 ? May 15, 1609) was an Italian composer of the late Renaissance, of the Venetian School. He was particularly prominent as a madrigalist, one of the few among the Venetians other than Monteverdi.
He was born in Chioggia, a fishing village on the Adriatic coast south of Venice, and he came to Venice early, becoming a member of the boy's choir at St. Mark's under the direction of Gioseffo Zarlino by the time he was eight years old. He may have been a parish priest at the church of S Maria Formoso, and he took holy orders in 1585; during this period he also served as a singer at St. Mark's. He evidently maintained some connection, probably as a director of music, with S Maria Formoso alongside his duties at St. Mark's.
After the death of Zarlino, he became assistant maestro di cappella; this was during the tenure of Baldassare Donato. When Donato died in 1603 Croce took over the principal job as maestro di cappella but the singing standards of the famous St. Mark's cathedral declined under his direction, most likely due more to his declining health than his lack of musicianship. He died in 1609; the position of maestro di cappella went to Giulio Cesare Martinengo until 1613, at which time Monteverdi took the job.
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