Franco-Flemish composer and trumpet-player. Born in Liège, Schoendorff is first heard of as a choirboy at the court of Archduke Matthias at the imperial court in Vienna and later Prague, where he served under the direction of Philippe de Monte. During thirty years of music at the imperial court, Schoendorff served three emperors in succession, Maximilian II, Rudolf II and his brother Matthias.
We know his birthplace inasmuch as in the collection Odae suavissimae in gratiam et honorem É D. Jacobi Chimarrhaei É, which Schoendorff published at the end of his career and dedicated to his patron and friendly father-figure Jacques (Jacob) Chimarrhaeus de Ruremonde for the latter's sixtieth birthday, his signature to the preface is followed by 'Leodius' (from Liège).
When his voice broke, his acknowledged talent meant that he was not sent back to his homeland as was the custom, but taken in and trained personally by the court chaplain and alto Chimarrhaeus, who also hailed from the diocese of Liège. It was doubtless here that he began playing the trumpet and learnt the art of composing according to the rules of the great 'Netherlands polyphonic tradition'. He probably also took lessons from his Italian-influenced compatriot Lambert de Sayve, whom he had met at the start of his career with Archduke Matthias in Linz.
The best way for the young Schoendorff to attract attention and secure his position among the impressive members of Rudolf's chapel-some fifty musicians (chaplains, singers, instrumentalists, copyists, instrument makers, tuners, etc)-was to dedicate a composition to the monarch. This he duly did in 1587 with his Missa super La dolce vista. At the same time the work pays friendly tribute to the master of the imperial chapel Philippe de Monte by making use of one of the latter's madrigals, published in 1569. Schoendorff did not stop there, for he also composed a Mass for six voices on a motet by his superior, Usquequo Domine. In addition to this he wrote two motets and a Magnificat (the scholarly literature mistakenly mentions a second). One can only regret the loss of the top two parts in the two six-voice secular motets which Schoendorff wrote when he joined with the finest composers at the court to honour the almoner and director of the chapel in the collection Odae suavissimae. Their strictly syllabic style is quite different from that of the sacred works and suggests the more intimate environment in which they would have been performed.