João Domingos Bontempo (1771-1842)

João Domingos Bomtempo (Lisboa: 28/12/1775-18/08/1842)

            Son of an Italian oboist (Francisco Saverio Buontempo) and a Portuguese (Mariana da Silva), Bomtempo held his first musical studies with his father, the Royal Orchestra Hall oboist (of Joseph I), continuing them later in the Patriarchal Lisbon seminar where it is presumed to have had lessons from João de Sousa Carvalho.

            At 14 (1789) became a singer in the royal chapel of Bemposta and at the age of 20 (1795), due the death of his father, replaced him in the position of oboist of the Royal House.

             In 1801, at age of 26, he left to Paris to continue his musical studies (especially the piano study), having become, then, a friend of Clementi, Cramer, Field and Dussek, among others. Three years later (February, 1804), an ad appears in the press of his concert at the Olympic Hall - one of the most elegant rooms at the time and where was played the most relevant concerts - performing a piano concerto of his own among other pieces, under Kreutzer‘s direction. The show was subject of the most favorable reviews and it was followed by several others within a few weeks.

           This way, period of great renown for Bomtempo was started, either as a pianist as a composer and later also as a teacher.  The first publications of his compositions were also appeared (Grande Sonate pour piano, in F, Op.1 and the first two piano concertos, op. 2 and 3, respectively in Mi b M and F m), and his popularity in Paris is affirmed, where he shines in the halls as a soloist.

              The Napoleonic Invasions at the Iberian Peninsula will, however, compromise his stay in France, which is why he leaves Paris in 1810,installing himself in London, where he  will keep its reputation, both as composer and as soloist.

The period from 1810 to 1814, he remains continuously in London and it was, in fact, rich in production, to which belong, for example, 3 Grandes Sonatas, op. 9, o Hino Lusitano, op.10, the I Grande Sinfonia, op. 11, as well as more sonatas and concertos. In 1813, was published a catalog of his published  work, in London, in the "Investigator Portuguese in England" (May No. 6), which included a collection of very  good impressions about J. D. Bomtempo, both as a pianist and as a composer. In same year, Bomtempo figure as one of the first 25 associate members of the newly created Philharmonic Society of London.

            With the departure of the Napoleonic danger and the reorganization of Europe, after the Vienna Congress of 1815, Bomtempo had much more mobility, starting to move without constraint between London, Paris and Lisbon. At the same time, develops his educational activity publishing in London a didactic work - " Elementos de Música e Methodo de tocar pianoforte, op.19  " - which, was offered to the Portuguese Nation. He takes seat in Paris, in 1818, maintaining, though, his contacts with the British capital where he still had very sucess, through the implementation of his works (including the Requiem, Op.23, completed that same year).

            In 1820, and following the liberal movement in Portugal, Bomtempo returns to Lisbon, immediately proving himself as a sympathizer of the cause and composing several evocative works of these new moments of the Portuguese nation. We can have as an example, the Mass "composed in tribute to the Portuguese Regeneration" that was  performed along with the Te Deum in F at the party oath of the Constitution bases in the Church of St. Dominic (March 29, 1821). In the same year, he directs the Requiem for the first time in Lisbon, in the same church, dedicated to the memory of the tortured 1817 and General Gomes Freire de Andrade. He also composes a serenade for winds and piano in F which includes several variations on the Constitutional Hymn of D. Pedro, later known as the Hino da Carta (letter hymn).

             Bomtempo becomes soon, the composer asked for the celebration of various official and liturgical acts of the Court. At the same time, he will try to implement, in Portugal, the taste for instrumental music that was developed in the rest of Europe through the creation of a Philharmonic Society of concert (1822), following the London ‘s model. The concerts intended to inform not only his music, but also the Viennese classics. In the same year, 1822 is charged by the courts to prepare a draft for an "establishment of vocal and instrumental music," project that Bomtempo will present later this year, with a reorganization of the Patriarchal Music Seminar, and he becomes the committee responsible.


Due his political sympathies, the activities of its Philarmonica Society, which brought together an abundant number of liberal sympathy music amateurs ,started to be disturbed and restricted sporadically by several times in the following policy periods (Vilafrancada, Abrilada) and, particularly, after the subsequent recovery of Absolutism by D. Miguel.

            In 1827, Bomtempo participated in the famous "archotadas" (popular mutinies in 1827) having escaped from being arrested for having taken refuge in the Consulate of Russia where he remained until the victory of the Liberals in 1834.

            With the liberal victory of 1834, Bomtempo is appointed Professor of D. Maria II and awarded the Commendation of the Order of Christ.

            In June 1834 retakes the project of creating a music school (which had been postponed in 1822, which led to the order: "Keep to be taken into account in a opportune time". Finally, by decree of May 5, 1835, it is created the Music Conservatory, which was attached to the Casa Pia and which Bomtempo was appointed as Director. Later, the same Conservatory would be transformed into music school and attached to the General Dramatic Arts Conservatory that was set in 1837, in the Caetanos ‘Convent of School, where he remains director.


            However,  he doesn’t cease , its composer activity, writing in his last year of life (1842) his Tantum Ergo, Kyrie Gloria and Credo, dedicated to D. Fernando II, but these scores (like many others), were lost.



Maria Jose Borges

This composer has 8 works on AvA:

An Easy Sonata Op. 13

Ref. ava100484

Work Cover

13.00 €

Grand Fantasia

Ref. ava100485

Work Cover

11.00 €

Hino Lusitano, Op. 10

Ref. ava070125

Available for Rental

Marcha Portuguesa

Ref. ava100482

Work Cover

11.00 €

Missa - Tantum ergo, Kirie, Gloria e Credo

Ref. AVA130990

Available for Rental


Ref. ava090315

Work Cover

50.00 €