He spent most of his life in Rome, initially as a chorister at the Santa Maria Maggiore basilica. He was taught by two French musicians - Firmin Lebel and Robin Mallapert - and was influenced by the northern European polyphony of Josquin des Prez and Guillaume Dufay.
He held positions as organist and choir master at various churches in Rome.
His first published compositions, in 1554, was the first ever book of Masses by a native Italian composer, and was dedicated to Pope Julius III.
Following the death of his wife in an outbreak of the plague, he remarried, giving him the independence to compose.
Palestrina died in Rome on 2 February 1594, probably one day before his sixty-ninth birthday, leaving hundreds of compositions and a long lasting influence on the development of counterpoint and of European music.
Ensemble. Josquin 500 - Giuseppe Pennisi listens to the Tallis Scholars in Rome
A Thriller about a Score - Giuseppe Pennisi explores a new critical edition of Palestrina's 'Missa Papae Marcelli'
CD Spotlight. Touching the Heart - Choral music by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, recommended by Gerald Fenech. 'David Shuler and his choristers deliver interpretations of sheer beauty brimming with natural and musical phrasing, spot-on-intonation and a glorious tonal blend ...'
CD Spotlight. A Tradition Still Alive - Gerald Fenech listens to Advent carols from King's College London. 'A hugely beautiful issue, full of inspiring singing and emotional joy, performed with fine control, impressive depth of tone and a dynamic range that commands one's admiration from start to finish.'
Ensemble. A Serious Miscalculation - Music for choir and saxophone, heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Familiar and Unfamiliar - The Sitwell Singers' Christmas concert, heard by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Breathtaking Depth - Sacred music in seventeenth century Rome, heard by Gerald Fenech. '... performances of celestial beauty ...'
CD Spotlight. A Moving Tribute - A recording dedicated to David Trendell, heard by Gerald Fenech. '... intelligence and deep musicality ...'
Ensemble. Infectiously Enjoyable - Anniversaries at The VoiceBox in Derby, by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Vibrant Testimony - Music inspired by the Virgin Mary, recommended by Gerald Fenech. '... overflowing with a translucent beauty ...'
Ensemble. Joy for the Soul - Giuseppe Pennisi visits Sagra Musicale Umbra
CD Spotlight. Great Purity - Performances by Deborah Roberts and friends, heard by Patric Standford. '... a recording to be treasured ...'
Ensemble. Darkness to Light - Giuseppe Pennisi visits the Ravenna Festival
Ensemble. Seething with Evil - Franz Schreker's 'Die Gezeichneten', reviewed by Giuseppe Pennisi
Ensemble. Distinctive Fervour - Music for Holy Week sung by the Chapelle du Roi, heard by Robert Hugill
CD Spotlight. Mice in the Manger - A selection of Christmas music, enjoyed by George Balcombe. '... an amazing collection.'
CD Spotlight. A Striking Urgency - Schnittke and Ginastera from the Choir of St Ignatius Loyola, reviewed by Howard Smith. 'Not quite what one might expect.'
Record Box. Magical and Sensitive - A recording by the National Youth Choir of Great Britain inspires Patric Standford
Ensemble. Classy Performance - Summer with The Derwent Singers, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Without Carols - Renaissance music for Christmas, reviewed by Malcolm Tattersall. '... endless web of glorious sound recorded sound ...'
Ensemble. Lack of balance - Rex Harley experiences Il Vero Modo
Ensemble. Accendo - Music from the time of Claudio Monteverdi at a concert in Cardiff Castle, Wales, reviewed by Rex Harley
Ensemble - Whistle stop tour. Malcolm Miller appreciates The Camden Choir's Renaissance Music