Michael East

  • Born
    c. 1580
  • Died
    1648
  • Birthplace
    London, England
Michael East (or Easte, Est, Este) was an English organist and composer. He was a nephew of London music publisher Thomas East (ca. 1540–1608), although it was once thought that he was his son. In 1601, East wrote a madrigal that was accepted by Thomas Morley for publication in his collection The Triumphs of Oriana. In 1606, he received a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Cambridge and in 1609 he joined the choir of Ely Cathedral, initially as a lay clerk. By 1618 he was employed by Lichfield Cathedral, where he worked as a choirmaster, probably until 1644, when the Civil War brought an end to sung services. Elias Ashmole was a chorister at Lichfield, and later recalled that "Mr Michael East … was my tutor for song and Mr Henry Hinde, organist of the Cathedral … taught me on the virginals and organ". East's exact date of death is not known, but he died at Lichfield. His will was written on 7 January 1648 and proved on 9 May 1648. It mentions his wife Dorothy, daughter Mary Hamersly, and a son and grandson both named Michael. His most highly regarded works are his five-part fantasies for viols: Thurston Dart is quoted as saying, "despite some slipshod part-writing, they are among the best five-part consorts of the time".