Valentin Bakfark was a Hungarian lute player and composer. He grew up as an orphan, raised by the Greff family. He stayed in Buda at the court of John Zápolya, where he was educated, until 1540.
He traveled to Paris in the 1540’s. When he found that there the position of lutenist to the king was already filled, he left for Poland in 1549. There he was employed as a court lutenist by Polish king Sigismund Augustus II. From then until 1566 he traveled extensively around Europe, with his renown increasing, but remained faithful to his employer in spite of numerous efforts by other monarchs to win him away; the riches bestowed on him by Sigismund may have affected his decision to remain attached to the court in Vilnius (Wilno).
For some reason he had to flee Poland. Army troops ransacked his house. All his possession were destroyed. After this he lived in Vienna, and later returned to Transylvania, but not for long: in 1571 he moved to Padua, Italy, where he remained until he died during the plague of 1576.
As was common practice at the time, all the possessions of plague victims were destroyed by fire. That is why all of his music manuscripts were lost.