Born: c. 1590
Died: c. 1658
Dario Castello (flourished 1st half of 17th century) is an enigma, as little is actually known about him despite persistent research by musicologists. The most information we have about him is gleaned from the title pages of his two publications, citing that he was a “Musico della serenissima signoria di Venetia in S. Marco” (musician of the most illustrious Signoria [a governing body] of Venice at San Marco)., and “Capo di Compagnia de Musichi d’Instrumenti da fiato in Venetia” (the leader of a company of wind instruments in Venice).
There is evidence that several members of the Castello family were musicians who worked in Venice during the first half of the seventeenth century. Official records from the period refer to a Bartolomeo, a Giovanni Francesco and a Giovanni Battista Castello, all of whom were instrumentalists. Giovanni Battista Castello is further listed as a member of the Doge's six piffari, or wind players, from December 1624 to November 1633, and he is listed in the San Marco archives as son of “Dario of Venice, musician in our aforementioned chapel.”
Castello's two collections of sonatas, comprising 29 works for 1, 2, 3, or 4 voices with continuo, exhibit virtuoso instrumental writing. The number of printings of both books of sonatas, at least seven between 1621 and 1658 in Venice and Antwerp, attests to the wide popularity of Castello's works.