Sebastián Aguilera de Heredia

Spanish monk, musician and composer

Sebastian Aguilera de Heredia (1561-1627) was a Spanish organist and composer.

Sebastián Aguilera de Heredia
La Seo de noche.JPG
The Cathedral at La Seo
BornAugust 15?, 1561
DiedDecember 16, 1627(1627-12-16) (aged 66)
OccupationPriest, composer, and organist

Aguilera was born in Zaragoza, Spain on about August 15, 1561.[1]

We do not know much about his early life. He was ordained as a priest in January 1584.[1] In 1585 he became organist at Huesca Cathedral, where he supervised the building of a new organ at the cathedral during 1588.[1] In 1603 he became a priest and organist at the Cathedral of La Seo, Zaragossa.[1] He looked after the organ at the cathedral and often had work done to improve it. He remained at the cathedral until his death on December 16, 1627.[1]

All his compositions were for the church: both his organ music and vocal music. His organ works show that he learned from composers such as Antonio de Cabezón, but he put new, modern ideas in his music which later influenced younger composers such as Correa de Arauxo.[1] His students became the cathedral organists after his death, and were part of a tradition and style of paying which lasted for over 100 years.[2]

A very important new technique which he used was the use of a divided keyboard (medio registro) which allowed different sounds in the upper half and the lower half of the keyboard (on today's organs one would need a two-manual organ to get the same effect). He wrote 36 settings of the Magnificat,[3] called Canticum Beatissimae Virginis Deiparae Mariae (1618).[2] His vocal work shows a skilful use of polyphony.


  • The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, ed. Stanley Sadie; 1980,ISBN 1-56159-174-2
  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Hudson, Barton. "Aguilera de Heredia, Sebastián." Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press, (subscription required), accessed January 4, 2016,
  2. 2.0 2.1 Great Aragonese Encyclopedia OnLine: Aguilera de Heredia, Sebastian - page speech - Great Aragonese Encyclopedia OnLine, accessdate: January 4, 2016
  3. AllMusic: Sebastián Aguilera de Heredia | Biography & History | AllMusic, accessdate: January 4, 2016