25th September 1603
Putignano, near Bari, Italy
Stefano Felis Latinized form of his last name 'Gatto', in English: 'cat', was a Neapolitan Italian composer of the Renaissance, and the collaborator and probable teacher of composer Pomponio Nenna. He composed madrigals, sacred motets, and choral settings of the Roman Catholic Mass.
Felis was born in Putignano, near Bari, in the province of Puglia, Italy, where he became a Canon at St Nicola. He later became Maestro di Cappella of the cathedral in Naples.
He accompanied the papal nunizo, Antonio Puteo, on a journey to the court of Rudolph II in Prague during the 1580s. It was in Prague that his first book of masses was published in 1588 by the printer Jiri Nigrin, and Felis later remarked upon his stay in Prague in the preface to his Sixth Book of Madrigals, published in Venice, 1591.
As an educator, Felis seems to have had a profound effect on the succeeding generation of musicians from Bari. Giovan Battista Pace, Giovan Donato Vopa, and Pomponio Nenna are counted among his pupils.
In Pomponio Nenna's first published collection of madrigals, "Il Primo Libro de madrigali à cinque voci", (1603?), there appear several madrigals of Felis'. As teacher, Felis might have allowed the young Nenna to add these works to his pupil's first publication, thereby ensuring its success.