His contemporaries considered Dufay to be the leading composer of his time. He was born in Cambrai sometime during the last few years of the 14th centuryand received his first musical training in the Cathedral there. His subsequent career reads like list of the great of and powerful of his day involving as it did service as a musician to the Malatesta family, the Papal choir, the d'Estes of Ferrara and the Dukes of Savoy. His last years were spent back home in Cambrai where he had been granted a sinecure as canon of the cathedral.
He's typical of the school of musicians often referred to as the 'Burgundians' or 'First Netherlands School' who flourished under the Dukes of Burgundy and who married Dunstable's sweetness to continental rigour thereby setting the predominant musical style of the Renaissance. He wrote a considerable amount of Church music including a Mass based on that most popular cantus firmus L'homme armé, a Mass based on his own secular ballade Se la face ay pale, a Mass based on his own setting of the great Marian antiphon Ave regina caelorum, and this Mass the Missa Sancti Anthonii Viennensis/Abbatis or Mass in honour of St. Anthony Abbot the patron saint of monasteries and of monks whose feast day falls on January 17th.