Giovanni Paisiello

Italian composer of the Classical era (1740-1816)

Giovanni Paisiello (9 May 1740 – 5 June 1816) was a composer from Italy. He wrote more than 80 operas. He also wrote music for churches and concerts.

Giovanni Paisiello
Born(1740-05-09)May 9, 1740
Roccaforzata (near Taranto)
DiedJune 5, 1816(1816-06-05) (aged 76)

Paisiello was born in Roccaforzata, a small town near Taranto in the south of Italy. His father was a veterinarian (a doctor for animals). When he was five years old, his father sent him to a Jesuit school in Taranto. His father wanted him to be a lawyer. Paisiello's teachers saw that he had a very beautiful singing voice and much talent for music. This made his father change his mind. He sent Paisiello to a famous music school in Naples called the Conservatorio di Sant'Onofrio. He studied at the music school for five years. At first, he composed church music, but then he began writing operas. Soon his operas became popular all over Italy.

In 1776, Catherine II, the Empress of Russia, invited him to work for her in St. Petersburg. Paisiello worked for the Empress for eight years. He composed operas for her theatre and conducted the royal orchestra. In 1784, he went back to Italy to work for King Ferdinand IV of Naples. He was the chief composer for a famous opera house in Naples, the Teatro di San Carlo. He also composed church music and concert music for the king. Napoleon Bonaparte admired Paisiello's music very much and invited him to Paris. From 1802 until 1804, Paisiello worked in Paris composing music for Napoleon. He then went back to Naples. He was the head of the music school there from 1807 until 1814. The last years of his life were not happy. He had money problems, and his operas were no longer popular. He died in Naples in 1816.


  • Grove, George (1900) "Paisiello, Giovanni", in A Dictionary of Music and Musicians (A.D. 1450-1889), Vol. 2, pp. 633-634. MacMillan & Co., Ltd.
  • Randel, Don Michael (ed.) (1996). "Paisiello, Giovanni" in The Harvard Biographical Dictionary of Music, p. 664. Harvard University Press