Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck (May 1562 - October 16, 1621) was a Dutch organist, teacher, and composer. He is widely considered to be the greatest of Dutch composers. Sweelinck was born in Deventer, and later succeeded his father as organist at the Oude Kerk in Amsterdam, where his family were organists continuously for almost one hundred years. His compositions include both keyboard and sacred & secular choral music, though it is for his keyboard music that he is best known today. Sweelinck was extremely influential as a teacher, especially of German students (including Scheidemann, Scheidt, Praetorius, and Hasse) who would propagate his compositional techniques far into eastern Europe. He is one of the major figures in the transition from Renaissance to Baroque compositional styles.
Sweelinck was one of the great transitional figures in Western music, known for his formal rigor and theoretical knowledge of the most influential compositional schools of the time. His keyboard compositions continued to be widely and directly influential in Germany until the time of Dietrich Buxtehude. ~ Todd McComb (6/94)