1. Ennio Morricone was born 10 November 1928.
2. He is an Italian composer, orchestrator, conductor, and former trumpet player, born in Rome.
3. He composes a wide range of music styles, making him one of the most versatile, experimental and influential composers of all time, working in any medium.
4. Over the past seven decades, Morricone has composed over 500 scores for cinema and television, as well as over 100 classical works.
5. His filmography includes over 70 award-winning films, including all Sergio Leone films since the Dollars Trilogy (such as Once Upon a Time in the West and Once Upon a Time in America), all Giuseppe Tornatore films (since Cinema Paradiso), The Battle of Algiers, 1900, Exorcist II, Days of Heaven, several major films in French cinema, in particular the comedy trilogy La Cage aux Folles I, II, III and Le Professionnel, The Thing, The Mission, The Untouchables, Bugsy, In the Line of Fire, Disclosure, Mission to Mars, Ripley’s Game, The Best Offer, and The Hateful Eight.
6. After having played trumpet in jazz bands in the 1950s, he became a studio arranger for RCA and started ghost writing for film and theatre.
7. Throughout his career, he composed hundreds of songs for artists such as Paul Anka, Mina, Zucchero and Andrea Bocelli.
8. From 1960 to 1975, Morricone gained international fame by composing the music to westerns.
9. His score to 1966’s “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” is considered as one of the most influential soundtracks in history and was inducted in the Grammy Hall of Fame. The album reached No. 4 on the Billboard chart.
10. With an estimated 10 million copies sold, “Once Upon a Time in the West” is one of the best-selling instrumental scores worldwide.
11. He also scored seven westerns for Sergio Corbucci, Duccio Tessari’s Ringo duology and Sergio Sollima’s The Big Gundown and Face to Face.
12. Morricone worked extensively for other film genres with directors such as Mauro Bolognini, Bernardo Bertolucci, Dario Argento and Henri Verneuil.
13. The highly acclaimed soundtrack for “The Mission” (1986) was certified gold by RIAA.
14. His album Yo-Yo Ma Plays Ennio Morricone stayed 105 weeks on the Billboard Top Classical Albums and peaked in 2004 at No.3.
15. Morricone’s best-known compositions include “The Ecstasy of Gold”, “Man with a Harmonica”, “Here’s to You”, the UK #2 single “Chi Mai”, “Nella Fantasia” and “E Più Ti Penso”.
16. He functioned during the period 1966-1980 as a main member of Il Gruppo, one of the first experimental composers collectives.
17. In 1969, he co-founded Forum Music Village, a prestigious recording studio.
18. From the 1970s, Morricone excelled in Hollywood, composing for prolific American directors such as Don Siegel, John Carpenter, Brian De Palma, Barry Levinson, Oliver Stone and Quentin Tarantino.
19. In 1977, he composed the official theme for the 1978 FIFA World Cup.
20. He continued to compose music for European productions, such as Marco Polo, La Piovra, Nostromo, Fateless, Karol and En mai, fais ce qu’il te plait.
21. Morricone’s music has been reused in television series, including The Simpsons and The Sopranos, and in many films, including Inglourious Basterds and Django Unchained.
22. As of 2013, Ennio Morricone has sold over 70 million records worldwide.
23. In 1971, he received a “Targa d’Oro” for the worldwide sales of 22 million.
24. In 2007, he received the Academy Honorary Award “for his magnificent and multifaceted contributions to the art of film music.”
25. He has been nominated for a further six Oscars. Morricone earned his sixth Oscar nomination in 2016 for his score of Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight (2015).
26. His other achievements include three Grammy Awards, three Golden Globes, six BAFTAs, ten David di Donatello, eleven Nastro d’Argento, two European Film Awards, the Golden Lion Honorary Award and the Polar Music Prize in 2010.
27. Morricone, who had four siblings, Adriana, Aldo, Maria and Franca, lived in the Trastevere quarter in the centre of Rome, with his parents.
28. His family came from Arpino, near Frosinone.
29. His first teacher was his father Mario Morricone, who taught him how to read music and also play a few instruments. Compelled to take up the trumpet, he entered the National Academy of Santa Cecilia, to take trumpet lessons under the guidance of Umberto Semproni.
30. Morricone formally entered the conservatory in 1940 when he was 12, enrolling in a four-year harmony program. He completed it within six months. He studied the trumpet, composition, and choral music, and direction under Goffredo Petrassi, who influenced him; Morricone has since dedicated his concert pieces to Petrassi. In 1946, he received his Diploma in Trumpet. After he graduated, he continued to work in classical composition and arrangement.
31. Although the composer had received the Diploma in Instrumentation for Band Arrangement (fanfare) with a mark of 9/10 in 1952, his studies concluded at the Conservatory of Santa Cecilia in 1954, obtaining a final 9,5/10 mark in his Diploma in Composition under the composer Goffredo Petrassi.
32. Morricone wrote his first compositions when he was six years old and was encouraged to develop his natural talents.
33. In 1946, he composed “Il Mattino” (“The Morning”) for voice and piano on a text by Fukuko, first in a group of seven “youth” Lieder.
34. In the following years, he continued to write music for the theatre as well as classical music for voice and piano, such as “Imitazione”, based on a text by Italian poet Giacomo Leopardi, “Intimità”, based on a text by Olinto Dini, “Distacco I” and “Distacco II” with words by R. Gnoli, “Oboe Sommerso” for baritone and five instruments with words by poet Salvatore Quasimodo and “Verrà la Morte”, for contralto and piano, based on a text by novelist Cesare Pavese.
35. After graduating in 1954, Morricone started writing and arranging music as a ghost writer for films credited to other already well-known composers, while also arranging for many light music orchestras of the RAI television network, working most notably with Armando Trovajoli and Carlo Savina. He occasionally adopted Anglicized pseudonyms, such as Dan Savio and Leo Nichols.
36. He fathered four children with his wife Maria Travia, one of whom, Andrea, followed in her father’s footsteps to become a film composer.
37. He wrote background music for radio dramas. His first major hit was with Paul Anka’s interpretation of “Ogni volta” or “Every Time,” which he co-wrote with Roby Ferrante in 1963.
38. Though his first films were undistinguished, Morricone’s arrangement of an American folk song intrigued director and former schoolmate Sergio Leone. Before being associated with Leone, Morricone had already composed some music for less-known western movies such as Duello nel Texas (aka Gunfight at Red Sands) (1963). In 1962, Morricone met American folksinger Peter Tevis, who is credited with singing the lyrics of Morricone’s songs such as “A Gringo Like Me” (from Gunfight at Red Sands) and “Lonesome Billy” (from Bullets Don’t Argue).
39. Morricone has worked for television, from a single title piece to variety shows and documentaries to TV series, including Moses the Lawgiver (1974), The Life and Times of David Lloyd George (1981), Marco Polo (1982) (which won two Primetime Emmys), The Secret of the Sahara (1987), I Promessi Sposi and Nostromo (1996).
40. On 13 October 1956 he married Maria Travia, whom he had met in 1950. Travia has written lyrics to complement her husband’s pieces. Her works include the Latin texts for The Mission. They have three sons and a daughter, in order of birth: Marco (1957), Alessandra (1961), the conductor and film composer Andrea (Andrew) (1964), and Giovanni Morricone (1966), a filmmaker, who lives in New York City.