Cardinal Domenico Bartolucci, who served as director of the Sistine Chapel Choir for more than 40 years, died Nov. 11 at the age of 96.

CNS PHOTO | PAUL HARING

Cardinal Domenico Bartolucci, who served as director of the Sistine Chapel Choir for more than 40 years, died Nov. 11 at the age of 96.

November 18, 2013

Italian Cardinal Domenico Bartolucci, who had devoted most of his priestly life to music and served as director of the Sistine Chapel Choir for more than 40 years, died Nov. 11 at the age of 96.

Bartolucci had retired from the Sistine Chapel post in 1997, but he continued composing music, including Benedictus, a piece written and performed in 2011 for retired Pope Benedict XVI, who had named him to the College of Cardinals a year earlier.

Ordained to the priesthood in 1939, he went to Rome in 1942 to refine his knowledge of sacred music and soon was helping direct the choir at the Basilica of St. John Lateran.

In 1952, he became the assistant director of the Sistine Chapel Choir and was appointed director of the choir by Pope Pius XII in 1956.

He reorganized its musical program, formed the Sistine Chapel boys’ choir, took the group on the road to give concerts around the world, and continued composing works for both choir and orchestra.