Born May 31,1802, in Genoa; died Jan. 26, 1870, in St. Petersburg. Italian composer; worked for many years in Russia.
Pugni graduated from the Milan Conservatory of Music (1822). He worked as a composer for the ballet in the theaters of Milan, London, Paris, and other European cities. Beginning in 1851 he was a composer of ballet music at the St. Petersburg imperial theaters. He collaborated with the choreographers J. Perrot, A. Saint-Leon, and M. Petipa. He was the composer of many ballets, including La Esmeralda (1844), The Pharaoh’s Daughter (1862), and The Little Humpbacked Horse (based on a tale by P. P. Ershov, 1864), the first ballet on a Russian national theme. He also composed operas and other works. His ballet music, which in itself is of no artistic significance, is characterized by melodiousness and well-defined rhythmic forms; for this reason, some of his ballets have remained in the theatrical repertoire.