Phillipe de Monte was born in Mechlin, where it is likely he received a grounding in music from the local choir. He served the Pinelli family in Naples from 1542 until 1551, then moved to Rome and had his first madrigals published. From there he moved to Antwerp, then England, where he was chorus prefectus in the chapel of Philip II of Spain. Although Monte left England in 1555, he did not receive another major position until 1568, when unable to attain the services of Giovanni Perluigi da Palestrina, Emperor Maximilian II of Bavaria took him on as Kapellmeister. There he composed prolifically, publishing volumes of work almost every year until 1600; in total, his madrigals number over 1,100. He also wrote many religious works, exemplifying Flemish counterpoint without being afraid to bend the rules to his own ends.