1. Education
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Profile of Thomas Tallis


Thomas Tallis

Public Domain Image of Thomas Tallis

from Wikimedia Commons


c. 1505 (or 1510)


Unknown (some books indicate his birthplace as possibly Kent)


November 23, 1585 in Greenwich, London

Also known as:

English composer known for his mastery of contrapuntal techniques, organist of Benedictine Priory in Dover (1532) and then at London's St. Mary-at-Hill (1537). Around 1538, he joined the Waltham Abbey choir and became clerk at Canterbury Cathedral around 1540. He served at the Chapel Royal as composer and organist, a post he shared with composer William Byrd.

Type of Compositions:

Tallis is primarily known for his church music written in English and Latin text. He also wrote keyboard pieces.


There is not much information about Tallis' early years but it is known that Wiiliam Byrd was one of his pupils.

Notable Works:

Queen Elizabeth 1 granted Tallis and Byrd the right to print music and music paper on January 21, 1575. Cantiones sacrae, a collection of 34 motets, became their first publication which came out that same year. Tallis' most notable works are "Lamentations of Jeremiah" (2 settings) and "Spem in alium" (40-part motet).

Interesting Facts:

Aside from Queen Elizabeth 1, Tallis is said to have served 3 other monarchs; Henry VIII, Edward VI and Mary Tudor.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.