Members of the Benvenuti family were prominent musicians in Padua, Italy, for many generations. In 1871 Antonio Benvenuti (1820–1896) emigrated to Queensland where he taught violin, opened a music school, and with his three sons formed the Benvenuti Orchestra. Luigi Benvenuti (1859–1934) played the double bass and Italo Benvenuti (1861–1932) played the oboe in the Brisbane Orchestral Society, the Brisbane Musical Union and other groups. Their brother Victor Benvenuti (1864–1921) was a pianist, but was better known as a teacher and orchestral conductor. He composed a number of songs, including Australia’s Call to Arms and Duke and Duchess of York’s march (1901).
Leo Benvenuti (1900–1975), who was the son of Luigi, was a violinist and a member of various theatre orchestras and the Queensland Symphony Orchestra. He was a well-known figure in Brisbane and was often asked to organise musical events at Government House. Together with other members of his family, he assembled a huge collection of orchestral and chamber music, band arrangements, piano music and songs that they hired out to theatre and cinema orchestras and the Brisbane Symphony Orchestra.
The Benvenuti Collection was donated to the Library in 1998–2000 by Gilda Benvenuti, the daughter of Leo Benvenuti.
The Benvenuti Collection contains 134 items, mostly concert programs, dance programs, dance cards, invitations and menus. They date from 1882 to 1966, but there are only a few items after 1940. Most of the events were held in Brisbane, at such venues as Government House, the Town Hall and the Brisbane Club, but Ipswich, Roma, Beaudesert, Charters Towers and Charleville are also represented. The principal organisations documented are Her Majesty’s Theatre, the Brisbane Musical Union, the Brisbane Orchestral Society and the Brisbane Symphony Orchestra.
The collection includes three photographs of members of the Benvenuti family, including one of Antonio Benvenuti and his three sons.
The printed items are kept together as a collection in the Ephemera Collection. They are housed in two boxes at Ephemera Formed 1. They have been catalogued as a collection and an item list is kept with the collection. The photographs are kept in the Pictures Collection at PIC P2170. They have been catalogued individually.
Joan Bain, Music of Early Brisbane (sound recording), 1981, ORAL TRC 4745