Giuseppe Donizetti was, from 1828, Instructor General of the Imperial Ottoman Music at the court of Sultan Mahmud II (1808–39).
His younger brother Gaetano Donizetti was a famous Italian opera composer. Although the elder Donizetti was born in Bergamo, Italy, Istanbul became a second home for him, where he lived until his death in 1856.
Donizetti Paşa, as he was called in the Levant, played a significant role in the introduction of European music to the Ottoman military. Apart from overseeing the training of the European-style military bands of Mahmud’s modern army, he taught music at the palace to the members of the Ottoman royal family, the princes and the ladies of the harem, is believed to have composed the first national anthem of the Ottoman Empire, supported the annual Italian opera season in Pera, organised concerts and operatic performances at court, and played host to a number of eminent virtuosi who visited Istanbul at the time, such as Franz Liszt, Parish Alvars and Leopold de Meyer.
He is buried in the vaults of the St. Esprit Cathedral, near the Beyoğlu district of Istanbul, in Pera.
Emre Araci published a comprehensive biography of Giuseppe Donizetti in Turkish in 2007 (See: Osmanli Sarayi'nin Italyan Maestrosu, YKY Istanbul, 2007). The volume "Giuseppe Donizetti Pasha: Musical and Historical Trajectories between Italy and Turkey", edited by Federico Spinetti, was published in English and Italian by the Fondazione Donizetti in 2010.