Martini was born Johann Paul Aegidius Schwarzendorf in Freystadt, Bavaria. He adopted the family name Martini after moving to France as a young man. There, he established a successful career as a court musician. Having directed concerts for the Queen, he adapted to the changing regimes throughout the French Revolution, and later wrote music for Napoleon's marriage as well as for the restored Chapelle royale. In 1764, he married Marguerite Camelot. His melodic opera L'amoureux de quinze ans, written in 1771, enjoyed great success. In addition, his highly popular church music combined old forms with modern theatricality, and his chansons including "Plaisir D'Amour" were influential. In 1800 he became a professor of composition at the Paris Conservatoire. He died in Paris in February 1816.