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Isaac, Heinrich (c.1450–1517)

  1. Randall D. McElwain

Published Online: 25 NOV 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9780470670606.wbecc0712

The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization

How to Cite

McElwain, R. D. 2011. Isaac, Heinrich (c.1450–1517). The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 25 NOV 2011


A native of Flanders, the composer Heinrich Isaac combined musical traits from Flanders, the Netherlands, Italy, France, and Germany into an international Renaissance style. Isaac was closely associated with the Medici family, the most powerful family of the Italian Renaissance. He taught the children of Lorenzo the Magnificent, including Giovanni di Lorenzo de'Medici, the future Pope Leo X. During his years with the Medici family, he composed Italian songs, motets, and masses. With Savonarola's rise to power in 1494, the Medici family was banished from Florence and Isaac was forced to seek employment elsewhere. In 1497 he was appointed court composer under Emperor Maximilian I at Vienna and Innsbruck. The last 20 years of his life were spent in this position, although he continued to visit Florence, where his wife came from.


  • Isaac, Heinrich (c.1450–1517);
  • Isaac and Medici family;
  • musical forms of the renaissance;
  • Isaac's 450 polyphonic motets, for the proper