Cima was an important and eminent Italian composer of the early 17th century. He was born around 1570 and it seems that he received an excellent education. His remarkable talent as a keyboard player was noticed during his teenage and young adult years. Cima lived his entire life in Milan and travelled to Rome, Venice, and other major Italian cities. At twenty-five he was appointed to the distinguished position of organist at San Maria presso San Celso Church. Cima twice held the position of maestro di cappella, first from 1607 to 1611, and then from 1614 until his death in 1630.
Cima was fairly active as a composer throughout his career: his first collection of works appeared in 1599 and contained several motets for four voices. A second publication including ricercars and canzonas followed in 1606. His 1610 collection, Concerti ecclesiastici, probably his most important, contains a mixture of instrumental and sacred vocal works. It also features the earliest surviving prototypes of solo sonatas and trio sonatas. He produced other compositions that were scattered throughout various publications from 1598 to 1626. Among the more significant of these were the vocal works that appeared in Regola del contrapunto, Angleria’s important collection from 1622.
Cima remained active as a composer right up to his passing in 1626 from the “Black Death” which had swept throughout Italy.