Giuseppe Donizetti Pasha (1788-1856)
Giuseppe Donizetti, the eldest brother of the famous opera composer, Gaetano Donizetti came to Istanbul in 1828 as "Istruttore Generale delle Musiche Imperiali Ottomane" (Instructor General of the Imperial Ottoman Music) to organize the training of the military bands of Sultan Mahmud II according to European teaching methods. At that time the Ottoman Empire was trying to remodel itself along Western principles, which also applied to musical reform within the newly created army following European models and thus the centuries old bands of the janissaries, known as "mehter", were replaced by European style military bands. Giuseppe Donizetti, who had previously served under Napoléon Bonaparte, came to the Ottoman capital, expecting to stay for a few years, but remained in his post for 28 years until his death in 1856, when he was buried in the crypt of the St Esprit Cathedral near Taksim. Donizetti lived in Pera, today's Beyoğlu, where in those years the majority of the Latin Catholic community of Istanbul resided. In fact his house was on Asmalımescit Sokağı, the same street where the Palazzo Donizetti Hotel today stands. As soon as he arrived in Istanbul Donizetti composed a military march for Sultan Mahmud II, known as "Mahmudiye March", which was adopted as the official national anthem of the Ottoman Empire in the early 20th century. He also taught members of the Ottoman royal family and at court presided over productions of Italian opera in the presence of the sultan. When the famous Hungarian pianist Franz Liszt came to Istanbul in 1847 he visited Donizetti's house and later used themes from his "Mecidiye March" dedicated to Sultan Abdülmecid in his "Grand Paraphrase". Rossini and Gaetano Donizetti also communicated their marches dedicated to the sultan through him. Giuseppe Donizetti was known as "Donizet Bey" to his pupils and later he was raised to the rank of a "pasha" by Sultan Abdülmecid in recognition of his services. Hence he is known in Turkey today as "Donizetti Pasha". Palazzo Donizetti Hotel is named after this other Donizetti, who is not known to the world.