Palestrina, the pre-eminent composer of the late 16th century, was teacher and mentor of many of the elite musicians in Rome. He collaborated with six of his colleagues, some of them his former choristers and students, to write the the twelve-voice Missa Cantantibus organis, a tribute to Saint Cecilia. The motet by Palestrina of the same name was the starting point for the composers, giving the mass a cohesive musical sound even though it was composed by seven different people: Palestrina, Giovanni Andrea Dragoni, Ruggiero Giovannelli, Curzio Mancini, Prospero Santini, Francesco Soriano and Annibale Stabile. They were all members of the Vertuosa Compagnia dei
Musici di Roma, a society founded in 1585 under the patronage of Pope Gregory XIII. This society was the forerunner of the Accademia di Santa Cecilia, still active in Rome today.
The concert will interweave the movements of the mass, performed by One Equall Musick under the direction of Christopher Hossfeld, with 10th-century plainchants for the feast of St. Cecilia sung by Scholastica, under the direction of Rebecca Bain.