The masters of the cappella ducale in the 16th and 17th centuries included many of the most notable composers of the Italian baroque. In addition to providing music at the Basilica, the choir and instrumentalists of the cappella performed important functions in the Venetian calendar of feasts.
Many of the works of the maestri di cappella are preserved in illuminated choir books at the Archivio di Stato di Venezia (ASV), the Biblioteca del Civico Museo Correr and the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana.
Maestri di cappella
The list of maestri, musical directors, and organists includes:
- Willært, maestro 1527–1563,
- Rore, maestro 1563–65,
- Claudio Merulo, first organist from 1557 to 1584
- Gioseffo Zarlino, maestro 1565–1590,
- Baldassaro Donati, a member of the New Academy of Venice, choirmaster of the "small choir" of St. Mark's from 1562 until 1565, when it was disbanded, then a chorister. Maestro 1590–1603,
- Giovanni Croce, vice maestro in the 1590s. Succeeded Donati as maestro in 1603–1609
- Andrea Gabrieli, singer in 1536, then organist.
- Giovanni Gabrieli, second organist 1584-, first organist 1586–1612.
- Claudio Monteverdi, maestro 1613–1643.
- Alessandro Grandi, second maestro 1620-
- Massimiliano Neri, first organist at San Marco while Cavalli was second
- Francesco Cavalli, second organist 1639-
- Giovanni Rovetta, second maestro succeeding Gabrieli's pupil Grandi. Primo maestro di cappella after Monteverdi's death in 1643, till own death in 1668.
- Giovanni Legrenzi, 1681 vice-maestro and in 1685 primo maestro
- Lotti, primo maestro 1719-
- Baldassare Galuppi, vice-maestro in 1748 and maestro from 1762 and then at the Ospedale degli Incurabili,
- Giovanni Tebaldini, secondo maestro di cappella 1889–1893
- Lorenzo Perosi,
- Matteo Tosi, maestro 1926–1938
- Marco Gemmani
The modern cappella
A boys choir was added 1890, disbanded 1960, and reformed 2006. In 2002, the Solisti della Cappella Marciana were formed as a concert giving orchestra. The current director from 2000 is Marco Gemmani, and organist from 1975 is Roberto Micconi.
- Fiona Kisby, Music and musicians in Renaissance cities and towns, page 36, 2001. "On many of the more important feasts in the Venetian calendar, the cappella marciana walked in the andata, so did the singers employed by some of the wealthier scuole, as their participation in the public ceremonial of the city became ..."
- Camillo Boito, The Basilica of S. Mark in Venice, 1888. "At this time the choral and liturgical books of the basilica Marciana were written and excellently illuminated by the Brescian ... Commencing with the early years of the XIV century, and looking over the records of the Capella Marciana."
- James H. Moore, Vespers at Saint Mark's: Music of Alessandro Grandi, Giovanni ..., Volume 2, 1981. "Moving out of the ASV altogether, we find two other Venetian libraries which hold important sources on the cappella marciana: the Biblioteca del Civico Museo Correr and the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana."
- F. Caffi, Storia della musica sacra nella già Cappella ducale di San Marco in Venezia dal 1318 al 1797.