Bomtempo was the son of an Italian musician in the Portuguese court orchestra, and studied at the Music Seminary of the Patriarchal See in Lisbon. Unlike most of his contemporaries, he was not interested in opera and, in 1801, instead of going to Italy, he traveled to Paris, where he started a career as a virtuoso pianist. He moved to London in 1810 and became acquainted with liberal circles in that city. During 1822 he returned to Lisbon, and founded there a Philharmonic Society to promote public concerts of contemporary music. After the Portuguese civil war between liberals and absolutists had resulted in a liberal victory, Bomtempo became a music teacher to the young Queen Maria II of Portugal and first Director of the National Conservatory, created in 1835 to replace the old Patriarchal Seminary, which had been abolished by the new liberal regime. Bomtempo composed a vast number of concertos, sonatas, variations and fantasies for the piano. His masterpiece is his Requiem in memory of Luís de Camões.