*1611 or 1612 in Brüx (Bohemia), +1675 in Zittau. In 1626 his family moved to Freiberg in Saxony. Scholarly and musical education unknown. 1633 became organist to Graf Rudolph von Bünau at Wesenstein castle, Saxony. 1635 organist of the Petrikirche in Freiberg. 1639 organist of the Johanniskirche in Zittau, sought-after teacher of keyboard instruments. Under the influence of Schütz, Hammerschmidt combined traditional 16th century forms with elements of the new Italian music. The predominantly sacred works form the genres of motet, concerto and song, reached a wider audience and could be realised in a variable combinations: The ‘Capella’, as in the preface to the second part of the ‘Musical prayers’ (1641), could be performed with ‘either vocalists or instrumentalists’. With the ‘Dialogi’ (1645) and the ‘Musical conversations on the Gospels’ (1655/56), for the first time, complete collections in Germany were devoted exclusively to dialogue, a special form of the sacred concertos.