Frescobaldi was born in Ferrara. His father Filippo was a man of property, possibly an organist, since both Girolamo and his half-brother Cesare became organists. (There is no evidence that the Frescobaldi of Ferrara were related to the homonymous Florentine noble house. ) Frescobaldi studied under Luzzasco Luzzaschi, a noted composer of madrigals and an organist at the court of Duke Alfonso II d'Este. Although Luzzaschi's keyboard music is relatively unknown today (much of it has been lost), contemporary accounts suggest he was both a gifted composer and performer, one of the few who could perform and compose for Nicola Vicentino's archicembalo. Contemporary accounts describe Frescobaldi as a child prodigy who was "brought through various principal cities of Italy"; he quickly gained prominence as a performer and patronage of important noblemen. Composers who visited Ferrara during the period included numerous important masters such as Claudio Monteverdi, John Dowland, Orlande de Lassus, Claudio Merulo, and Carlo Gesualdo.
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