Giuseppe Bonno

Giuseppe Bonno

Giuseppe Bonno (29 January 1711 – 15 April 1788)[N 1] was an Austrian composer of Italian origin. (His name is sometimes given as Josef or Josephus Johannes Baptizta Bon.)

The son of a footman from Brescia who served at the Austrian court, he was born in Vienna and studied music with Johann Georg Reinhardt, imperial court organist, later Kapellmeister of St Stephen's. A gifted pupil, he was then sent to Naples in 1726 where he studied church music under Francesco Durante and opera under Leonardo Leo. He moved back to Vienna in 1736, becoming a court composer there, and working as Kapellmeister to the Prince of Saxe-Hildburghausen in the 1750s and 1760s. He died in Vienna.

Bonno's music is very rarely heard today, but he was a prominent figure in the Viennese musical life of his time and his works were often performed. He worked with two main librettists: Giovanni Claudio Pasquini and Metastasio. The latter was Bonno's contemporary in Vienna, and the composer wrote the first music for Metastasio's Il natale di Giove (also set by Hasse), Il vero omaggio, Il re pastore (later set by Hasse and Mozart), L'eroe cinese (also set by Hasse), L'isola disabitata (also set by Haydn) and L'Atenaide ovvero Gli affetti più generosi.

Most of his output was for vocal forces, including stage works, oratorios, masses and other sacred pieces.

He is a supporting character in the play and film Amadeus written by Peter Shaffer.




  • Eleazaro (1739)
  • San Paolo in Athene (1740)
  • Isacco figura del redentore (1759) – see Isacco figura del redentore [de] for Metastasio's libretto and settings by other composers
  • Il Giuseppe riconosciuto (1774) – see Giuseppe riconosciuto [de] for Metastasio's libretto and settings by other composers