Ennio Morricone

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 key member of the influential Gruppo di Improvvisazione di Nuova Consonanza, one of the very first groups of composers who produced avant-garde free improvisations. Morricone played trumpet with the group, and also sometimes directed.

Ennio Morricone (1928-2020)
Ennio Morricone (1928-2020)


He also composed avant-garde classical works such as the trumpet concerto Ut for Italian trumpeter and composer Mauro Maur.

Ennio Morricone died on 6 July 2020 at the Università Campus Bio-Medico in Rome, aged ninety-one, following a fall.


A selection of articles about Ennio Morricone

Spotlight. A Stupendous Box Set - Gerald Fenech strongly recommends Antonio Pappano's complete symphonic, concertante and sacred music recordings with the Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia. '... music-making of exceptional passion and indescribable beauty that exalts the listener to heights of immense joy and feverish excitement.'

Spotlight. Imaginative and Colourful - Gerald Fenech finds the latest in Chandos Records' series of film music mouth-watering. 'Performances are consistently alive, vibrant and rhythmically exciting, and Marco Albonetti's virtuosity makes the music sound even more passionate and intense.'

CD Spotlight. Great Entertainment - SOMM Recordings' second volume of film music, enjoyed by Gerald Fenech. 'Iain Sutherland and his Promenade players display no want of energy and each track is tackled with effervescence and enthusiasm, making the music sound even more exciting than it was thought to be.'

Classical music news - July 2020 Obituaries - Our summary of those the classical music world has lost this month

Ensemble. A Double Bridge - Giuseppe Pennisi attends 'Sarang è Amore' at the Korean Cultural Institute in Rome

CD Spotlight. Appealing Work - Music for euphonium, heard by the late Howard Smith. '... it's the lyrical selections that reveal Frey at his finest.'

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