Italian composer, orchestrator, conductor and trumpet player Ennio Morricone was born in Rome on 10 November 1928. His father was a professional trumpet player who worked in light music orchestras, and was Ennio's first teacher. He composed his first pieces at the age of six. Later he studied trumpet with Umberto Semproni, then entered the conservatory at the age of twelve, finishing the four year harmony programme in six months. He studied trumpet, composition and choral music with Goffredo Petrassi, who was a strong influence in Morricone's style.
Initially he wrote in a serious classical style - mostly songs, demonstrating his flexibility and eclecticism.
In 1953 he was asked to arrange medleys in American style for a series of radio programmes, which led to writing background music for radio dramas and then film. He is best known for the so-called Spaghetti Western genre, which began when Sergio Leone hired Moricone to produce a score for A Fistful of Dollars in 1964. They continued to produce music for For a Few Dollars More in 1965 and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly in 1966.
From 1964 until 1980 he was a member of Gruppo di Improvvisazione di Nuova Consonanza, a group of composers who produced avant-garde free improvisations.
A selection of M&V articles about Ennio Morricone
Ensemble. An Exceptional Violinist - Lisa Batiashvili plays Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto, and Giuseppe Pennisi is impressed
Ensemble. Extraordinary Artistic Freedom - The Francesco Siciliani Prize at Sagra Musicale Umbra, by Giuseppe Pennisi
An Invaluable Book - Gergely Hubai's 'Torn Music: Rejected film scores, a selected history', recommended by Patric Standford
CD Spotlight. Beauteous Tone - Flautist Lisa Friend's debut disc, heard by Howard Smith. '... pleasing and ideally accomplished.'
Record box. Skewering demons - Concert works by film composers, played by the New Art Trio and reviewed by Keith Bramich