b Roccaforsata, near Taranto, 8 May 1740
d Naples, 5 June 1816, aged seventy-six
From 1754 to 1763 he studied at the Naples Conservatory, then composed his first operas. In 1776 he was invited to be maestro di cappella for Catherine II of Russia for several years. He later returned to Naples under the patronage of Ferdinand IV. He was much admired by Napoleon Buonaparte, who in 1802 made him his director of chapel music. He was made a member of the Legion d'honneur in 1806, and a member of the French Institute in 1809. He wrote ninety operas, as well as cantatas, sacred oratorios, masses and other liturgical works, chamber and orchestral works.