Composer and court musician Alfonso Ferrabosco was born at Bologna in 1543 into a family of musicians. By 1559 he was in the service of Cardinal Charles de Lorraine. First evidence of his being in England dates from March 1562. Ferrabosco was granted a life annuity in 1567 on condition that he should remain in Elizabeth’s service at Nonsuch Palace. This did not prevent him from travelling to Europe on various occasions (perhaps acting as a spy).
His position at the court became troublesome in the later 1570s (the reasons most probably being religious) and he decided to leave England. Before setting off he married Susanna Symons at St Botolph, Aldgate, in May 1578. A month later they were in Paris and from there they travelled to Turin. Ferrabosco published two collections of madrigals (1587). Some two hundred vocal pieces and thirty instrumental works survive. He died in August 1588 in Bologna.