Born June 30, 1722, in Stáre-Benátki; died Nov. 6, 1795, in Köstritz. Czech composer, violinist, and conductor. Court violinist in Berlin (beginning in 1742); kapellmeister in Gotha.
Benda developed the genre of musical melodrama. He was the author of one-act tragic duodramas (plays with two characters): Ariadne on Náxos (presented in 1775 and 1779 in St. Petersburg) and Medea (1775), which were praised highly by W. A. Mozart; and Pygmalion (1779). He also composed the singspiels The Country Fair (1775), Romeo and Juliet (1776), and The Woodcutter, or the Three Wishes (1778), which played an important role in the formation of the genre of musical comedy. Benda also wrote masses, symphonies, concertos, sonatas, and other works.