Gregorio Allegri



Gregorio Allegri (1582-1652) was an Italian composer whose most celebrated composition was his Miserere, which is is one of the most recorded pieces of late Renaissance music.

Life and Music

  • Gregorio Allegri was steeped in the traditions of the Catholic Church, becoming a choirboy at the age of nine and ending up as music director of the papal choir two years before his death.
  • He is best known for his Miserere, which was performed in the Sistine Chapel every year during Holy Week from the time it was written until towards the end of the 19th century.
  • The Vatican kept the lid on the exact details of what was being sung, and anyone who made an illegal copy of the music was threatened with severe punishment.
  • The Miserere was probably even more stunning to listen to back in Allegri's time than it is today because the members of the highly skilled papal choir would add their own embellishments to the music.

Did you know?

In 1770, Mozart, then aged 14, made a visit to Rome and managed to transcribe the Miserere faithfully after hearing it twice.  This was a bit of a blow to the Vatican, which had succeeded in preventing the production of scores for 150 years.


Top Allegri Pieces