Veteran maestro worked up to the end

ROME

Prolific Italian film and musical composer Armando Trovajoli, who scored more than 200 movies over six decades, including Vittorio De Sica’s Oscar-winner “Two Women,” played with jazz greats such as Louis Armstrong, and wrote a hit serenade to Rome covered recently by Andrea Bocelli, died in Rome on Saturday, age 95.

Trovajoli’s widow, Maria Paola Trovajoli, announced his passing saying the maestro worked up until his death.

Rome major Gianni Alemanno mourned Trovajoli saying, “The voice of Rome has been hushed.”

Born in Rome in 1917, Trovajoli graduated from the city’s Santa Cecilia Conservatory in 1948 and began playing jazz piano in Rome and Paris where, among others, he performed with Armstrong, Duke Ellington and Miles Davis, before becoming conductor of pubcaster RAI’s pop orchestra in the early 1950s.

In 1951 Dino De Laurentiis gave Trovajoli his first film scoring gig on Alberto Lattuada’s hit drama “Anna,” kicking off a remarkable career in Italian and international cinema.

Trovajoli composed two hit songs for “Anna,” “El negro zumbon” and “Non dimenticar,” the latter covered in Italian by Nat King Cole.

He went on to work closely with many of Italy’s finest postwar helmers, most notably Ettore Scola, Dino Risi, Mario Monicelli, Mauro Bolognini and De Sica on hit movies of all genres.

He penned scores for several of Sophia Loren’s best films, including De Sica’s 1960 “Two Women” (which won Loren an Oscar), his 1963 “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow,” and Scola’s 1977 Fascist-era drama “A Special Day.”

In 1957 Loren sang Trovajoli-penned pop song “Che m’e mparato a ffa,” which hit No.1 that year on the Italo charts.

But his biggest pop success was “Roma nun fa’ la stupida stasera,” an ode to the Italian capital written for the 1962 hit musical “Rugantino,” which played on Broadway in 1964.

Trovajoli’s “Roma,” the title of which can be translated as “Rome, don’t act silly tonight,” became the Italian capital’s theme song, requested by tourists and covered by Bocelli in his album “Passione,” released in January.

Trovajoli, who was working on a satirical version of Puccini’s “Tosca” when he died, won four David Awards, Italy’s top film honors, among other prizes.

He is survived by his wife Maria Paola and two sons, Howard Andrew and Giorgio.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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