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Ennio Morricone was born in Rome on November 10, 1928. His long artistic career includes a wide range of composition genres, from concert music to applied music, working as orchestrator, conductor, and composer for theatre, radio, and cinema. In 1946, Ennio received his trumpet diploma and in 1954 he received his diploma in Composition at the Conservatorio di Santa Cecilia under the guidance of Goffredo Petrassi. He wrote his first concert works at the end of the 1950s, then worked as arranger for RAI (the Italian broadcasting company) and RCA-Italy. He started his career as a film music composer in 1961 with the film Il Federale directed by Luciano Salce. World fame followed through the Sergio Leone westerns: A Fistful of Dollars (1964), For a Few Dollars More (1965), The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (1966), Once Upon a Time in The West (1968), and A Fistful of Dynamite (1971).
In 1965, Morricone joined the improvisation group Nuova Consonanza. Since 1960, Morricone has scored over 450 films, working with many Italian and international directors including Sergio Leone, Gillo Pontecorvo, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Bernardo Bertolucci, Giuliano Montaldo, Lina Wertmuller, Giuseppe Tornatore, Brian De Palma, Roman Polanski, Warren Beatty, Adrian Lyne, Oliver Stone, Margarethe Von Trotta, Henry Verneuil, Pedro Almodovar, and Roland Joffè. His most famous films include The Battle of Algiers, Sacco and Vanzetti, Cinema Paradiso, The Legend of 1900, Malèna, The Untouchables, Once Upon a Time in America, The Mission, and U-Turn. His absolute music production includes over 100 pieces composed from 1946 to the present day. Titles include Concerto per Orchestra n.1 (1957), Frammenti di Eros (1985), Cantata per L’Europa (1988), Ombra di lontana presenza (1997), Voci dal silenzio (2002), Sicilo ed altri frammenti (2007), and Vuoto d’anima piena (2008). In 2001, Ennio Morricone began a period of intense concert activity, conducting his film music and concert works for symphony orchestra and polyphonic choir in more than 100 concerts across Europe, Asia, USA, Central and South America.
During his long career, Ennio Morricone has also received many awards. As well as the Golden Lion and the honorary Oscar he was awarded in 2003, he has been presented with eight Nastri D’argento awards, five BAFTAs, five Oscar nominations, seven David Di Donatellos, three Golden Globes, one Grammy Award, and one European Film Award. In 2009, then-President of the French Republic, Nicolas Sarkozy, also signed a decree appointing Morricone to the rank of Knight in the Order of the Legion of Honor.
In the recording field, Morricone has received 27 gold discs, seven platinum discs, three Golden Plates, and the Critica Discografica award for the music of the film Il Prato. The soundtrack from the film The Good, The Bad and The Ugly was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2009 while Morricone himself was awarded the prestigious Polar Music prize the following year.
His more recent works include scores for the television series Karol and The End of a Mystery, 72 Meters, and Fateless. In the 21st century, Morricone’s music has been reused countless times for television and in movies including Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill (2003), Death Proof (2007), Inglourious Basterds (2009), and Django Unchained (2012). In 2007, Morricone received the Academy Honorary Award “for his magnificent and multifaceted contributions to the art of film music.”
In November 2013, he began a world tour to coincide with the 50th anniversary of his film music career and performed in locations such as the Crocus City Hall in Moscow; Santiago, Chile; Berlin, Germany; Budapest, Hungary; and Vienna’s Stadhalle. On February 6, 2014, Riccardo Mutti conducted the Chicago Symphony Orchestra performing Morricone’s Voices from the Silence, a cantata Morricone composed in response to 9/11 to give voice to innocent victims.
His European tour resumed from February 2015 to March 2015, with 20 concerts in 12 countries, in Europe’s largest arenas, such as the O2 in London and the Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam. Playing to a total of 150,000 spectators and with most of the shows sold out, Maestro Morricone’s My Life in Music European Arena Tour was a resounding success.
On June 12, 2015, Morricone conducted a mass composed in dedication to Pope Francis. It was commissioned by the Jesuit Order to commemorate the 200-year anniversary of the recongregation of the Jesuit Order at the Jesuit Church in Rome.
In 2015, Morricone also collaborated with Quentin Tarantino on an original soundtrack for the very first time. On December 7, 2015, The Hateful Eight had its world premiere followed by a Golden Globe nomination in the Best Original Score category the very next day.
Giuseppe Tornatore’s The Correspondence, with an original soundtrack composition by Morricone, was released in January 2016. It earned Morricone another David di Donatello nomination for Best Score and was his final work before his death in July 2020. Morricone participated in the recording of a documentary about himself from 2014–2016. The documentary, Ennio: The Maestro, directed by Giuseppe Tornatore, is slated for release in 2021.