The Kennedy Center

Bonifazio Graziani


Bonifazio Graziani was an Italian priest and composer who was known as possibly one of the ‘best kept secrets' of the early Roman Baroque period.  He composed sacred choral works for Roman Jesuits ‘circles' sometime around the mid-seventeenth century.  His talent ranks him amongst the greatest among his contemporaries and along with Giacomo Carissimi they created a legacy of professionalism that made their talents known as outstanding members of the Roman school. 
He served as musician and priest in Marino and Frascati, Italy in his late twenties and early thirties.   In 1646 he moved to Rome where he would go on to become the Maestro di cappella and served in Rome at the church of the Gesù.  And he also served at the Roman Seminary around 1648.  Twelve years after his employment began at the Gesù, he saw their choir double size.  The standard requirement was for 4 singers however his choir grew to at least 10 singers.  It was also believed he wrote many of his ‘liturgical'  religious worship service compositions especially for this choir and it was also during this period of time when his music started to be published.  Bonifazio Graziani published two oratorios and had another 25 published collections, of which it contain polyphonic masses, psalms and also included in them were his best works, his motets.  In his works for the solo voice he had six collections published. 
Little to nothing is known about his childhood other than he had two brothers, Marc Antonio, was an admired castrato singer and the other was the father of Domenico his nephew.  Bonifazio Graziani nephew Domenico received his musical educational training at the Roman Seminary, where his uncle served.  He would go on to serve in a leadership role with the Congregazione dei Musici around the year 1694 just like his uncle.  Bonifatio Gratiani was also a member in the Congregazione dei Musici di S Cecilia and in 1663 he was elected guardian of the maestri di cappella.  He died June 15, 1664.  Pope Alexander VII gave his family exclusive rights (copyrighted) to publish the manuscripts works of Bonifatio Gratiani posthumously. 
Bonifazio Graziani