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