Ennio Moriccone is an Italian Composer and Orchestrator. His repertoire consists of music for over five hundred movies and songs. His sensational and emphatic pieces, together with his ability to write music for almost any kind of genre, are the reasons he is regarded as one of the greatest film composers of all time.
Moriccone was born in Rome, Italy on November 10, 1928. His father was a jazz trumpet player, and he gave the young Moriccone his first lessons in music. At the age of twelve, Moriccone joined the Saint Cecilia Conservatory to study harmony, where he completed a four year program in two years. Moriccone continued studying at the conservatory till 1952, obtaining diplomas in Composition and Band Arrangement, among many others.
Upon graduation, Moriccone first wrote film scores as a ghost writer for other composers. He was also hired by the RAI television network for arrangement. In 1959 he conducted and co-wrote the score for Mario Nascimbene’s “Morte Di Un Amico”. His first credited score was for Luciano Salce’s 1961 movie “II Federale”. Moriccone also wrote the score for Salce’s “La Voglia Matta” in 1962.
In 1963 Moriccone wrote his first score for a western movie titled “Gunfight at Red Sands”. He then re-united with his schoolmate Sergio Leone, who was an aspiring director at the time. With Leone, he wrote the soundtrack for the ridiculously famous “Dollars Trilogy”. This soundtrack was one of Moriccone’s most famous; it included the beautiful composition “The Ecstasy of Gold”, which went on to become Moriccone’s most famous tune. Metallica, a multi-platinum heavy metal band, uses the soundtrack in their concerts to this day. Moriccone followed his marvelous success with soundtracks for “Once Upon a Time in the West” and “A Fistful of Dynamite”. He also wrote scores for director Sergio Corbucci’s western films including “Navajo Joe”, “The Hellbenders” and “The Great Silence”.
When the Dollar’s Trilogy premiered in the United States in 1967, Moriccone’s career expanded to Hollywood. There, he composed film scores for Academy Award winning films, including “The Untouchables”, “Days of Heaven”, “The Mission”, “Bugsy”, and “Cinema Paradiso”. Directors for whom Moriccone wrote music included John Carpenter, Barry Levinson, Mike Nichols and Brian De Palma. Moriccone also composed music for many popular television series, including “Moses the Lawgiver”, “The Secret of the Sahara”, “Marco Polo”, and “La Piovra”.
From 1964 to 1980, Moriccone was a part of the G.I.N.C; a band which was colloquially named as “The Group”. Moriccone released seven albums with the avant-garde group, which was created to promote improvisation and new musical techniques. During the course of his career, Moriccone embarked on collaborations with world famous artists; including Paul Anka, Chet Baker, Mina, Alberto Lionello, Rita Pavone, Luigi Tenco, and Rosy Armen. His collaboration with Paul Anka resulted in the composition “Ogni Volta”, a single that sold over three million copies worldwide.
Ennio Morricone legendary skills in composing and orchestrating led him to conduct some of the leading orchestras of the world. As of 2001, he has conducted over two hundred concerts, including concerts for the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, and mostly for the Orchestra Roma Sinfonietta. Among his fifty six awards, he won an Honorary Academy Award in 2007 for “his magnificent and multifaceted contributions to the art of film music”. He is also the winner of three Grammy Awards and two Golden Globes.