Morricone, Ennio

(1928-)
   Musician and film composer. The most prolific film composer in the history of cinema, Morricone has written the scores of over 500 films and television series, in addition to more than 100 other musical compositions, including sonatas, symphonies, chamber pieces, music for theatrical productions, radio plays, and arrangements of popular songs.
   Morricone received his musical training at the Conservatory of Santa Cecilia in Rome, which he entered at the age of 14 and where he studied trumpet, orchestration, choral music, and composition under renowned composer Goffredo Petrassi. While completing his academic studies he also played second trumpet in the musical ensemble of Alberto Flamini. Having earned his diploma in trumpet in 1946, he began experimenting with compositions for piano and voice while also writing music for theatrical productions. In the early 1950s he expanded his activities to include writing music for radio plays while continuing to experiment with original compositions and avantgarde music. By the late 1950s he was working as a musical arranger for RAI television while conducting and arranging popular songs for performers such as Gianni Morandi, Charles Aznavour, and Mario Lanza.
   He began composing for films in the early 1960s, with a score for Luciano Salce's Ilfederate (The Fascist, 1961). His first resounding success, however, came with the innovative musical track for Sergio Leone's Per un pugno di dollari (For a Fistful of Dollars, 1964), which he had written under the pseudonym Don Savio and for which he received his first Nastro d'argento. He subsequently scored all of Leone's films, including the gangster epic Once upon a Time in America (1983), and worked with all the major Italian directors from Gillo Pontecorvo and Marco Bellocchio to Pier Paolo Pasolini and Bernardo Bertolucci. Indeed, as Bertolucci himself once remarked in an interview, there was a period during the 1970s when practically every Italian film, with the possible exception of those of Federico Fellini, carried the name of Morricone.
   Although he had previously also worked with American and British directors on films as different as John Boorman's Exorcist II (1977) and Terence Malick's Days of Heaven (1978), for which he had received his first Oscar nomination, Morricone became especially well known in America for his haunting and moving sound-track to Roland Joffe's The Mission (1986), a score that earned him his second Oscar nomination as well as a Golden Globe and a BAFTA Award. He then went on to work on a multitude of other international films, including Brian De Palma's The Untouchables (1987), Roman Polanski's Frantic (1988), and Pedro Almodovar's jAtame! (Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! 1990), as well as further contributing to Italian cinema with the scores of films such as Giuseppe Tornatore's Oscar-winning Nuovo cinema Paradiso (Cinema Paradiso, 1988) and Roberto Faenza's Jona che visse nella balena (Jonah Who Lived in the Whale, 1993), for which he received his fourth David di Donatello. In subsequent years his prolific output remained matched only by its extraordinary variety as he continued to move freely between art house and popular cinema, from Dario Argento's horror thrillers like Il sindrome di Stendhal (The Stendhal Syndrome, 1996) to an American satirical comedy like Warren Beatty's Bulworth (1998), whose score earned him yet another Grammy nomination. Since the beginning of the 1990s he has also been particularly active on Italian television, writing everything from the music to the neverending series on the Mafia, La piovra (Octopus), to scoring the hagiographic telefilm Padre Pio, tra cielo e terra (Father Pio, between Heaven and Earth, 2000).
   A great musical experimenter, freely able to combine popular and classical idioms, Morricone has remained the most widely recognized and sought-after film composer in the world. In 1995 he was awarded the Golden Lion at the Venice Festival for his career achievement and in 2003 he personally conducted a long list of his most famous film scores at a special sellout concert at London's Albert Hall. In 2007, after five previous nominations, he was awarded an honorary Oscar for lifetime achievement.
   Historical Dictionary of Italian Cinema by Alberto Mira

Guide to cinema. . 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Morricone, Ennio — (1928 )    Musician and film composer. The most prolific film composer in the history of cinema, Morricone has written the scores of over 500 films and television series, in addition to more than 100 other musical compositions, including sonatas …   Historical dictionary of Italian cinema

  • MORRICONE, Ennio — (1928– )    Morricone was born in Rome and began working with Italian films early in his career. He is one of the most prolific composers for film in cinema history. He became famous in the 1960s for his work with Sergio Leone and spaghetti… …   Westerns in Cinema

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  • Morricone — Morricone,   Ennio, italienischer Komponist, * Rom 10. 11. 1928; studierte bei G. Petrassi und gehörte der Improvisationsgruppe Nuova Consonanza an. Morricone wurde international bekannt durch die Musik zu zahlreichen Filmen, u. a. »C era una… …   Universal-Lexikon

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