Juan del Encina

Born: 12th July 1468

Died: c. 1530

Birthplace: Near Salamanca, Spain

Juan del Enzina – the spelling he used – or Juan del Encina – modern Spanish spelling - was a composer, poet and playwright, often called the founder, along with Gil Vicente, of Spanish drama. His name at birth was Juan de Fermoselle. In 1492 the poet entertained his patron with a dramatic piece, the Triunfo de la fama, written to commemorate the fall of Granada. In 1496 he published his Cancionero, a collection of dramatic and lyrical poems. He then applied for the cantor post at Salamanca Cathedral, but the position was divided among three singers, including his rival Lucas Fernandez. While working for the Duke of Alba, Encina was the program director, along with Lucas Fernandez. Here Encina wrote pastoral eclogues, the foundation of Spanish secular drama. Encina's plays are predominantly based on shepherds and unrequited love. Encina was ambitious, looking to be promoted based on preferment, so around 1500 he relocated to Rome, where he apparently served in the musical establishments of several cardinals or noblemen. Encina was appointed to the Archdiaconate of Malaga Cathedral by Julius II in 1508.

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