Jacob Obrecht Biography, Life, Interesting Facts


Jacob Obrecht

Birthday :

November 22, 1457

Died On :

July 1505

Birth Place :

Ghent, East Flanders, Belgium

Zodiac Sign :


A South Netherlandish composer, Jacob Obrecht earned his fame in major parts of Europe, all thanks to his 15-century musical style. In all, his fame knocked the end walls when one of his fellow, Josquin des Prez took over his musical career. Besides, Jacob had a different composing style, unlike other composers.

He added to his work four vocal parts, different use of vertical chords. Josquin’s work was far from Jacob’s compositions; he hardly reached his style. Throughout his career, he loved to spend most of his time in Flemish land. He later landed a job as a promising composer in Italy under Duke’s permission. When Duke of Ferrar died, he started to look for odd jobs till his early demise.

Childhood And Early Life

Since the inception of ancient composers such as Jacob Obrecht who was born around the 1450s were known as Josquin generation. They were regarded as a perfect group of composers who perfectly matched with the 17th-century sculptures and Renaissance paintings.

According to the Josquin generation, Jacob Obrecht was first seen in the world around 1457 or 1458.It is said that he came from a well-known family who loved music to the core. This is what made him to envy music at his tender age. To further his career, he intensely trained as a fervent choirboy in one of local Cathedral.



There is little to no information when it comes to Jacob’s early career and life. Even then, some ancient sources suggest that he probably traveled to Florence around 1474.It was probably in 1479 and 1480 that he landed a musical position in Bergen op Zoom, Netherlands. It was in 1484 that he got a seat as a chapel master in Escaut town, a region of France.

In the mid of 1485, Jacob took some cathedrals duties at St. Donation in Bruges, Northwest Belgium. For two years he was pleased from his work where he paid a visit to Duke of Ferrara in Italy. Sources suggest that Duke loved Obrecht’s composition. Simultaneously he rose to fame at the beginning of the 1480s where he went back to his native land. For his out of world art, Jacobs name is still visible to one of the Christian church in Antwerp.

From 1491 to 1500 Obrecht went to Bruges, and later he traveled to Bergen op Zoom before the end of 1498.It was in the mid of 1504 that he traveled to Ferrara once more to work as a composer in D’Este chapel. When Duke died, Jacob lost his job where he remained in the city till death took his life. It wasn’t sure if he continued to compose more songs or he retired. Ottavio Petrucci took the time to print some of Jacob’s works. It was here that he came across some of his notable works including motets. In 1503 Petrucci published a book titled Masses by Obrecht.



In 1505 Jacob Obrecht breathed his last due to a plague. After ten years, Jacob was defined as one the promising ancient composers that the world has never had.

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