Bonno, Giuseppe, noted Austrian composer of Italian descent; b. Vienna, Jan. 29, 1711; d. there, April 15, 1788. His father, Lucrezio Bonno, was the imperial footman. Giuseppe Bonno began his musical studies with Johann Georg Reinhardt, the court organist. Charles VI sent Bonno to Naples in 1726 for further musical education; there he studied composition with Durante and Leo. His first opera, Nigella e Nise, was performed in Naples in 1732. In 1736 he returned to Vienna, where he brought out his second opera, L’amore insuperabile. In 1737 he was made a court scholar in composition, and in 1739 was named court composer. In 1739 he brought out his oratorio Eleazaro, which proved highly successful. He subsequently joined Gluck and Dittersdorf as a Kapellmeister to Field Marshall Joseph Friedrich, Prince of Sachsen-Hildburghausen, in Schlo-sshof and Mannersdorf. In 1774 he succeeded Gas-smann as Imperial Court Kapellmeister. Bonno was greatly esteemed as a teacher; Dittersdorf and Marianne di Martinez were among his pupils. He was a friend of the Mozart family, and recognized the budding genius of Mozart at an early date.
DRAMATIC (all first perf. at the Burgtheater in Vienna unless otherwise given): Nigella e Nise, pastorale (Naples, 1732); L’amore insuperabile, festa di camera (July 26, 1736); Trajano, festa di camera (Oct. 1, 1736); La gara del genio con Giunone, serenata (Laxenburg, May 13, 1737); Alessandro Severo, festa di camera (Oct. 1, 1737); La generosità di Artaserse, serenata (Nov. 4, 1737); a pastorale (Nov. 19, 1737); La pace richiamata, festa di camera (July 26, 1738); La pietà di Numa, festa di camera (Oct. 1, 1738); La vera nobilità, festa di camera (July 26, 1739); II natale di Numa Pompilio, festa di camera (Oct. 1, 1739); II nume d’Atene, festa di camera (Nov. 19, 1739); La generosa Spartana, serenata (Laxenburg, May 13, 1740); II natale di Giove, azione teatrale (Favorita, Vienna, Oct. 1, 1740); II vero omaggio, componimento drammatico (Schloss Schönbrunn, Vienna, March 13, 1743); La danza, cantata (Aprii 1744); Danae, opera (1744; not extant); Ezio, opera (1749; not extant); II Re pastore, dramma per musica (Schloss Schönbrunn, Vienna, Oct. 27, 1751); L’Ero cinese, opera (Schloss Schònbrunn, Vienna, May 13, 1752); L’isola disabitata, azione teatrale (Sept. 23, 1754); Didone abbandonata, opera (1752; not extant); Colloquio amoroso fra Piramo e Tisbe (1757); Complimento, for the Prince of Sachsen-Hildburghausen (1761; not extant); L’Atenaide ovvero Gli affetti più generosi, azione teatrale (1762); // sogno di Scipione (1763); also, in collaboration with others, Catone in litica (1742) and L’Armida placata (Oct. 8, 1750). oratorios (all perf. in Vienna): Eleazaro (1739); San Paolo in Athene (March 31, 1740); Isacco figura del redentore (March 18, 1759); II Giuseppe riconosciuto (March 20, 1774). other: Masses and instrumental works.
A. Schienerl, Die kirchlichen Kompositionen des G. B.(diss., Univ. of Vienna, 1925); K. Breitner, G. B. und sein Oratorienwerk (diss., Univ. of Vienna, 1961).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire