(b Cremona, 15 May 1567; d Venice, 29 Nov 1643). Italian composer. The most important musician in late 16th- and early 17th-century Italy, he excelled in nearly all the major genres of the period. His nine books of madrigals consolidated the achievement of the late Renaissance masters and cultivated new aesthetic and stylistic paradigms for the musical Baroque. In his operas for Mantua and Venice he took the experiments of the Florentines and developed powerful ways of expressing and structuring musical drama. His three major collections of liturgical and devotional music transcend the merely functional, exploiting a rich panoply of text-expressive and contrapuntal-structural techniques. Although he composed little or no independent instrumental music, his writing for instruments was genuinely innovative. Schrade’s famous assessment (1950) of Monteverdi as ‘creator of modern music’ may be exaggerated, but his significant place in music history is assured.