Gaetano Pugnani (27 November 1731 – 15 July 1798, full name: Giulio Gaetano Gerolamo Pugnani) was an Italian composer and violinist.
Gaetano Pugnani was born in 1731 in Turin, the city where he spent most of his life, son of Giovanni Battista Pugnani, secretary in the office of the Director of the Settlement of Turin. The Pugnani originate from the comune of Cumiana, where they held a common farm and where the musician returned often. He trained on the violin under Giovanni Battista Somis, founder of the Piedmontese school of violin playing. In 1752, Pugnani became the first violinist of the Royal Chapel of Turin, and then went on a large tour that granted him great fame for his extraordinary skill on the violin. In 1754, he was very well received at the Concert Spirituel in Paris, but in 1768 he had an even more successful musical encounter in London, directing the King's Theatre from 1767 to 1769. During these years Pugnani worked closely with Johann Christian Bach and Carl Friedrich Abel.
In 1770, Pugnani returned home to Turin and became the director of the Royal Chapel. He would meet Wolfgang and Leopold Mozart a year later in 1771.  His fame as a composer began to grow, but it would never equal his fame as a violinist. During this time, he also taught the violin. His most famous pupil was Giovanni Battista Viotti; in 1766 Viotti was placed at the cost of the prince de la Cisterne under Pugnani. From 1780 to 1782 they performed in Switzerland, Dresden, Warsaw and St. Petersburg.
Pugnani died in Turin in 1798. His funeral was modest as was his will and he was buried in the cemetery of St. Peter in Vincoli.
Fritz Kreisler borrowed Pugnani's name in order to publish some of his pieces (such as Praeludium and Allegro and Tempo di Minuetto), but in 1935 Kreisler revealed that these works were actually his own.
- Russell, Tom; Churgin, B.; Moore, D. (June 1985). Johnson, J. (ed.). Antonio Brioschi 1725-50/Fortunato Chelleri 1690-1757/Antonio Sacchini 1730-86/Gaetano Pugnani 1731-1798 (Series A, Volume 3 ed.). Taylor & Francis. ISBN 0-8240-3858-4.
- White, Chappel (1992). From Vivaldi to Viotti: A History of the Early Classical Violin Concerto. Gordon & Breach. ISBN 2-88124-495-5.
Operas with music by Gaetano Pugnani:
- Nanetta e Lubino. Opera buffa, libretto by Carlo Francesco Badini, 1769. The first performance took place on 8 April 1769 at the King's Theatre, London
- Issea. Libretto by Vittorio Amadeo Cigna-Santi, 1771
- Tamas Kouli-Kan nell'Indie. Libretto by Vittorio Amadeo Cigna-Santi, 1772
- Aurora. Libretto by Giandomenico Boggio, 1775
- Achille in Sciro. Libretto by Pietro Metastasio, revised by Vittorio Amedeo Cigna-Santi, 1785. This opera, divided into 3 acts, was premiered at the Teatro Regio in Turin on 15 January.
- Demofoonte. Libretto by Pietro Metastasio, 1787. Opera in three acts premiered at the Teatro Regio in Turin on 26 December.
- Demetrio a Rodi. Libretto by Giandomenico Boggio and Giuseppe Banti, 1789
- La Betulia Liberata. Oratoria sacra, libretto by Pietro Metastasio. Dedicated to the Queen of Portugal. This opera was performed in 2012 by the Portuguese Symphonic Orquestra directed by Donato Renzetti, in collaboration with the musicologist Pietro Dossena.
- 6 quartets for strings
- 18 sonatas for violin and continuo
- 6 quintets for 2 flutes (oboes), 2 corni ad lib, 2 violins, basso continuo
- 6 trios for harpsichord, violin and cello
- 6 sonatas for 2 violins
- Free scores by Gaetano Pugnani at the International Music Score Library Project (IMSLP)
- Demetrio a Rodi - on-going cooperative transcription in the Wiki-score platform of the score of this opera by Gaetano Pugnani.
- Pugnani Kreisler: Praeludium und Allegro Violin: Guido Rimonda,Orchestra Camerata Ducale
- Giorgio Enrico Cavallo; Andrea Gunetti (2015). Gaetano Pugnani e i musicisti della corte sabauda nel XVIII Secolo. Roberto Chiaramonte Editore. p. 9.
- Giorgio Enrico Cavallo; Andrea Gunetti (2015). Gaetano Pugnani e i musicisti della corte sabauda nel XVIII Secolo. Roberto Chiaramonte Editore. pp. 7–9.
- Warwick Lister, Amico: The Life of Giovanni Battista Viotti (Oxford University Press, 2009).
- Cf. Simon McVeigh, The Violinists in London Concert Life 1750–1784 (New York and London: Garland, 1989), 70.
- In the libretto of his opera Demetrio a Rodi (1789) he is mentioned as Maestro Gaetano Pugnani, primo Violino, e primo Virtuoso di Camera di S.M., Direttore generale della Musica instrumentale della Regia Cappella, e Camera, e della Musica militare.
- Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). . Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 28 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 108.
- Giorgio Enrico Cavallo; Andrea Gunetti (2015). Gaetano Pugnani e i musicisti della corte sabauda nel XVIII Secolo. Roberto Chiaramonte Editore. p. 41.
- "Fritz Kreisler". hoaxes.org. Archived from the original on 17 February 2004. Retrieved 24 October 2016.
- Source: http://operadata.stanford.edu
- The parts of the overture are available from Free scores by Gaetano Pugnani at the International Music Score Library Project (IMSLP).
- An adaptation of Annette et Lubin by Marie J.B. Fauart and J.B. Lourdet de Santerre, cf. Stanford Univ. Libraries: http://searchworks.stanford.edu/view/8072121.
- Manuscript copy of the full score archived in Biblioteca da Ajuda, Lisbon. Cf. page 241 of Claudio Re, Gaetano Pugnani and the eighteenth-century Italian symphony: a study and edition of the Overture in E-flat (ZT 23). PhD thesis, U. Florida, 2011.
- L'Aurora: festa per musica, da rappresentarsi nel Regio Teatro di Torino per le nozze delle AA.RR. di Carlo Emanuele, principe di Piemonte e di Adelaide Clotilde di Francia, l'anno MDCCLXXV. Available from archive.org.
- es:Aquiles en Esciro (Pugnani)
- Cf. Demofonte (Pugnani). The libretto is available from the Bayerischen Staatsbibliothek
- Modern edition (ed: Pietro Dossena) of the score available from Free scores by Gaetano Pugnani at the International Music Score Library Project (IMSLP).
- The dedication reads: Oratorio Sacro del Abate Metastasio messo in Musica da Gaetano Pugnani, e dal medesimo umilmente dedicato A Sua Maesta Fedelissima La Regina di Portogallo.
- Cf. Publico newspaper, 23/06/2012.