Vicente Lusitano


Vicente Lusitano (1520?-1561?) was a Portuguese composer and theorist of the late Renaissance. He was possibly of African descent, and has a claim to being the first published black composer. Lusitano, which means "Portuguese", appears to be a nickname rather than a family name. He was born in Olivença, but little else is known for certain of his life, including the dates of his birth and death. He wrote a number of choral works, including Latin motets and a madrigal. In a 1551 debate in Rome, he espoused traditional views on the role of the three genera in music (diatonic, chromatic and enharmonic) over more radical ones put forward by Nicola Vicentino (Lusitano was deemed to have won the debate).