Barbara Strozzi made for herself long and respected life as a musician in her native Venice. Strozzi was not only a skilled singer, but she was also a trained violinist and composer who studied under Francesco Cavalli. She is also lucky to have had many of her works published during her life, something that was indeed very rare for woman musicians in her lifetime. With her fame and public attention, however, came some pretty nasty rumors. Some of her critics accused her of being a courtesan, though we have to take that term into consideration. Courtesans were often valued and patronized for their intellectual abilities. In fact, many women during the Renaissance became "honest courtesans" in order to pursue their artistic endeavors. Whether or not this is true about Barbara Strozzi, we may never know. What we do know, though, is that Strozzi was one of a very small group of women who was able to enjoy a long and prosperous career as a musician during the late Renaissance and early Baroque era.