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Heinrich Schütz (1585-1672) was a German composer and organist, generally regarded as the most important German composer before Johann Sebastian Bach. He was born in Köstritz, Saxony, and studied music in Kassel and Venice. He served as Kapellmeister at the courts of Weissenfels and Dresden, and his music was known throughout Europe. Schütz was a prolific composer, and his works include sacred music, secular vocal music, and instrumental music. His sacred music is particularly notable for its use of German texts and its fusion of Italian and German musical styles. Schütz died in Dresden at the age of 87.
Schütz was a major figure in the development of Baroque music, and his music has been performed and recorded extensively. He is considered one of the most important composers of the 17th century.