Thomas Champion, called Mithou

(1530 - 1580)

French composer, actor and organist, Mithou was also a player of the virginals. There is no evidence that Thomas Champion (known as Mithou) was the son of the Jacques Champion who was a member of the chapel of Charles V from 1518 to 1535, unless it is the recurrence of the first name Jacques among his children and grandchildren. In 1554, Mithou was a resident of Paris. Converted to Protestantism the following year, he entered the service of Antoine de Bourbon, king of Navarre and father of Henri IV. In 1557 he is found in Béarn, land which his employer had acquired by marriage at the same time as his title of King de Navarre. Towards the end of this same year 1557, he entered the service of Henri II. Two years later, he played the role of Orphée in a ballet de court given to celebrate the marriage of Marguerite, the king's sister, to the Duke of Savoy. Pierre Certon was the godfather of one of his daughters on January 9, 1570. He was named first organist of the chapelle royale et de la chambre in 1578. There is no trace of him after 1580. He left six secular songs, two spiritual songs and sixty psalms on the French texts of Clément Marot and Theodore de Bèze. The majority of these worksare for four voices (two psalms are for five). Mithou married the daughter of a Scots lutenist, Jacques (James) Edinthon and had several children, among them Jacques Champion of La Chapellen (circa 1555 1642) who inherited his title according to the system of survivance (automatic transmission of a charge to an heir), and was father of Jacques Champion, Sieur de Chambonnières.

A Partial Thomas Champion Discography | IVI: The French Chanson | IVC: Evangelical Church Music