Devilish Publishing Music Publishers
Devilish Publishing Music Publishers

Ennio Morricone


Ennio Morricone was born on the 10th November 1928 in Rome, Italy. He was a skilled trumpet player, as well as a conductor, orchestrator and composer, particularly for film and TV, with more than 400 scores to his credit. This has earnt him notoriety as one if the greatest film composers ever. Despite many Hollywood successes, he always remained in his native Italy to live.

He lived with his mother, father and 4 siblings. His father was a professional trumpet player, who often performed in orchestras. He taught Morricone to read music and how to play several instruments. At the tender age of 6, he created his first compositions. He undertook trumpet lessons at Saint Cecilia Conservatory, formally enrolling on a harmony course there at the age of 12 in 1940. Here he studied the rudiments of composition and choral music as well as the trumpet. As well as music, he took a keen interest in chess, which he learnt when he was only 11 years old. He even participated in chess tournaments in Rome! Unfortunately, as he got older and his musical career took off, he became too busy to play.

In 1941, some of the students were chosen to be part of the Orchestra of the Opera and Morricone gained a place. 5 years later, in 1946, he achieved a diploma in the trumpet. An early composition also came this year, in the form of Il Mattino, meaning ‘The Morning.’ He began to arrange music in 1950, with the first being Mamma Biana. In 1952, he received a further diploma in Instrumentation for Band Arrangement before completing his studies in 1954 and obtaining his diploma in Composition. He continued writing compositions all while he studied for his diplomas.

In 1953, he was commissioned to write some American style medleys for a radio show. His career began to take off. Many chamber and orchestral pieces followed from the following year. He soon evolved into a composer for film and radio shows too. 1956 saw him join a jazz band and he arranged pop songs for the broadcasting company RAI in Italy. They went on to hire him in 1958, but he did not last a day, because he was not allowed to broadcast his own compositions. Instead, he went to RCA Victor records to be a studio arranger.

In the late 1950s, he first started to write the music for films, firstly as a ghost-writer, then as an uncredited composer. His real creditable success came in 1961 with the score to the film Il Federale.

Love came in the form of Maria Travia in 1950. 6 years later on the 13th October 1956, they were married. She often wrote lyrics to some of Morricone’s music. Three sons and a daughter followed to complete the family.

Further success came in 1963, when he co-wrote the music for the song Ogni Volta, meaning ‘Every Time,’ which Paul Anka performed at a festival the following year. It was very well received and Morricone’s arrangement of this sold several million copies all over the world. 1964 was also the year in which he joined the Gruppo di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza, where he was a key member in a group of likeminded composers, who performed and recorded experimental music, releasing several albums until they disbanded in 1980.

1987 saw him team up with the Pet Shop Boys to write It Couldn’t Happen Here. Further success with big names came with his composition for Sting in 2001 entitled My Heart And I.

Ennio Morricone has composed scores for films of a variety of genres. Many of his works in the 1960s and 1970s were for comedies. Spaghetti westerns was also a genre that he was well known for, with the score to the 1966 film The Good, The Bad And The Ugly being a notable example. In 1968, he composed one of his most beautiful scores for a film entitled Once Upon A Time In The West. The love theme from this film entitled Your Love was arranged by James McFadyen for soprano cornet and brass band, released in 2020. He also composed scores for dramas, political films, thrillers and including the 1977 American horror film Exorcist II: The Heretic.

1979 saw Morricone receive his first Academy Award nomination for best original score for the film Days Of Heaven. In 1986, he was nominated for a second time, for his score for The Mission. His score for The Untouchables in 1987 earnt him his third nomination for best original score. Several other nominations followed over the years. His career in Hollywood was varied and he spent time on many different projects. Oscar success finally came with his score to Tarantino’s film The Hateful Eight, which won the best original score in 2016 and a Golden Globe.

As well as composing film scores, Ennio Morricone wrote for other mediums as well. In 2010, he collaborated with Hayley Westenra on her album Paradiso. Furthermore, 1995 saw a working relationship begin with Dolce & Gabbana, writing music for their adverts. He collaborated with Italian singer Laura Pausini in 2013 on her hit single La solitudine.

In addition to recorded performances, he did live ones as well. Always an active trumpet player, he performed with orchestras and ensembles. His talent also stretched to conducting. In 1984 he conducted the Orchestre National des Pays de a Loire in a concert hall in Paris. 3 years later he appeared in concert with the Dutch Metropole Orchestra in Belgium. Another notable event was the Flanders International Film Festival in Ghent in 2000, where he conducted his music with the National Orchestra of Belgium. In the November of 2013, he embarked on a 50th anniversary tour of the world to coincide with the anniversary of the start of his film and music career. Morricone was invited on the 12th June 2015, to conduct a mass that was dedicated to Pope Francis. These are just a few of the in excess of 250 concerts he has performed over the years, which have included world tours.

Sadly, Morricone died on the 6th July 2020 in Rome after sustaining injuries in a fall. His incredible legacy will live on, through his prolific film score writing and his influence on a range of musicians from all genres far and wide. He impressively wrote all his scores by hand and orchestrated them all himself. His music has been covered by many artists and he has had songs dedicated to him as well as selling in excess of 70 million records worldwide (with 27 gold discs and 7 platinum ones). As well as Academy Awards and Golden Globes (American and Italian), in 1987, he also won the honour of having his score for The Mission voted into the AFI’s Top 25 of Best American Film Scored of All Time. He has also won 4 Grammy Awards, 11 Silver Ribbon Awards, 4 ASCAP Awards, 6 BAFTA Awards, 10 David di Donatello Awards and 2 European Film Awards as well as many others. A well-deserved product of his long and illustrious career.