Italian composer. Became a priest at S. Lorenzo, Florence, and maestro di capella there in succession to his teacher, Luca Bati, in 1608; succeeded in addition to the post of maestro di capella of the Medici court three years later, but retained his ecclesiastical connections as a canon and, in 1614, Apostolic Protonotary (a senior Curial secretary at the Vatican). In 1607 he founded the Accademia degli Elevati,and wrote his first opera Dafnefor the Gonzaga court at Mantua, where it was performed the following year.
Gagliano was one of the most important early opera composers -- he wrote several apart from Dafne that do not survive complete. He also wrote an oratorio, six books of 5-part madrigals, a volume of Musiche(monodies, secular duets and trios) and a quantity of sacred music including thirty-eight motets. In Dafnehe supplements the recitative of Peri and Caccini with arias and polyphonic choruses, giving a more varied whole. In the song Valli profondehe uses an arresting variety of moods to produce one of the finest monodies of the early Baroque. Gagliano's madrigals are more conventional, however, and his church music is distinctly old-fashioned.