Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Music



Major Professor

Rachel May Golden

Committee Members

Nathan Fleshner, Jacqueline Avila


Musicians often regard Orlando di Lasso (1532-1594) as Giovanni de Palestrina’s lesser-known, northern contemporary, with Palestrina standing as the pinnacle of Counter-Reformation sacred music in the current musicological canon. However, this conception of Lasso does not align with his reputation during his own time, where he stood as the most popular and cosmopolitan composer in Europe. In order to cultivate this reputation, Lasso exercised personal agency over his image as represented within his compositions and print publications, fashioning himself into a versatile and widely appealing musician that composed in every genre of both sacred and secular music. However, Lasso simultaneously presented himself as a pious, Catholic composer to his patrons, the Bavarian Wittelsbach dukes Albrecht and Wilhelm V, who led the Counter-Reformation in German-speaking lands. In this way, Lasso presents a divided sense of his own selfhood.The duality of Orlando di Lasso’s sense of self demonstrates the crystallization of early modern conceptions of selfhood during the Renaissance era as detailed by scholars Susan McClary and Stephen Greenblatt. They argue that, while modern selfhood cemented itself in the seventeenth century, artists of the sixteenth century reflected the transition into this modern conception, often creating ambivalent or conflicted senses of themselves. In my work, I argue that Lasso exemplifies these trends of self-fashioning through his lifelong cultivation of the dual personas described above.While studies of Lasso’s selfhood specifically do not exist, I draw from scholarship of William Byrd as a model for my own study and use a wide array of interdisciplinary scholarship from literary studies, religious studies, and history in addition to musicological work. I defend my argument through an examination of Lasso’s control of his prints, surrounding print culture, his personal and professional relationships, and an analysis of specific musical works including Missa pro defunctis, Locutus in sum lingua mea, Anna, mihi dilecta, and Fertur in conviviis.

Files over 3MB may be slow to open. For best results, right-click and select "save as..."