You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Oscar-Winning Composer Ennio Morricone Reflects on His Long Career

Ennio Morricone, winner of this year’s original-score Oscar for “The Hateful Eight,” is among the most prolific film composers ever, with nearly 500 scores for movies and TV, including such classics as “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” (1966) and “The Mission” (1986). He received an honorary Oscar in 2007 before winning in competition at age 87 for the Quentin Tarantino mystery. His first mention in Variety came when he was 33, for scoring 1962 Italian comedy “La Voglia Matta” (That Certain Urge).

In your early days, you were often scoring more than 20 films a year, while your peers were averaging four or five.

In the past, if somebody approached me, I said yes. Now, with the passing of time, I am a bit more selective. I tend to work with directors I already know. I also want to have time to write my concert music.

How did you become a film composer?

When I was young, I started working as an orchestrator and arranger for pop songs, for radio, for television, for the recording industry, for the stage. All of a sudden, a filmmaker asked me to compose music for a movie, and that was the beginning of my film career.

Did you find that early training in the pop-music field helpful when you started to do movies?

Absolutely. Everything I have done in my life — as an arranger, an orchestrator, a composer — was extremely useful. Everything I did left a mark on my career.

Your breakthrough came just a few years later with Sergio Leone. Were you aware that you were breaking with Western-scoring tradition by using whistling, electric guitars, voices and choirs?

No. I didn’t realize that I was bringing about a kind of musical revolution in the Western music genre. People told me that later on.

Do you think the potential of music in films has been fully realized?

I cannot foresee the future. But I think serious composers can still work to achieve something that has not been done as yet. The main obstacle for innovation is the audience actually understanding the value of music. Film culture has grown up and developed with the audience. The same cannot be said of music in cinema.

Do you have an overall philosophy of film scoring?

First of all, I listen to the director quite closely. When it is possible, I watch the movie, and then I start to think about the kind of music that will serve the movie. At the same time it must be consistent with my own personality and my own style.

Can you define that style in words?

I cannot do that. Maybe this is up to music critics. What I can say is that I have my own personal style, and a deep knowledge of music composition and of the history of music. I am quite sure of my own skills, my own musical culture. I can rely on all of that to compose.

Click Image for Large Preview

More Music

  • Tencent Music Raises $1.1 Billion for

    Tencent Music Raises $1.1 Billion for IPO

    China-based music streaming company Tencent Music Entertainment Group said it raised nearly $1.1 billion in its U.S. initial public offering, according to Reuters. Earlier this year, the company was expected to be valued at as much as $30 billion and raise $4 billion for its IPO, but those estimates were slashed in September. he IPO [...]

  • Katie Vinten and Justin Tranter Variety

    Justin Tranter and Katie Vinten Partner With Warner Bros. for New Label

    As previously reported, hit songwriter Justin Tranter and Warner/Chappell Publishing’s Katie Vinten are launching a new label in partnership with Warner Bros. Records, the company announced officially today. In her new role, Vinten, most recently the company’s co-head of A&R, will also serve as an A&R Consultant to Warner Bros. Records and will continue with [...]

  • Ella Mai

    Ella Mai Signs Worldwide Deal With Sony/ATV Music Publishing

    Singer Ella Mai, who is enjoying a worldwide smash with her song “Boo’d Up” and was nominated for two Grammy Awards last week, has signed a worldwide deal with Sony/ATV Music Publishing. The song peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and has been streamed more than 650 million times in the U.S. [...]

  • Phylicia Fant Shawn Holiday

    Shawn Holiday, Phylicia Fant Named Columbia Records' Co-Heads of Urban (EXCLUSIVE)

    Columbia Records has named Shawn Holiday and Phylicia Fant Co-heads of Urban Music, it was announced today by the label’s chairman and CEO, Ron Perry. The two will each hold the title of Co-head of Urban Music. Previously, Holiday was Senior Vice President of Urban A&R for Columbia, while Fant joins Columbia from Warner Bros. Records, [...]

  • BTS puma collaboration basket sneakers shop

    BTS Escape Injury After Tour Bus Accident in Taiwan

    Korean boyband BTS have escaped injury after a collision that involved three of their tour buses, according to news reports. The superstar pop band were on board the buses after having performed a gig at the Taoyuan Baseball Stadium in Taiwan. At least seven vehicles were involved, according to local reports, but no one was [...]

  • Bruce Springsteen on Broadway

    Film Review: 'Springsteen on Broadway'

    Hope you like the 69-year-old version of Bruce Springsteen’s face, because it’s virtually all you’re going to see for the two hours and 40 minutes of the filmed “Springsteen on Broadway” — other than the bare brick wall of the theater casting a dim glow in the background beyond those gray sideburns, and two songs’ [...]

  • Clueless review

    Off Broadway Review: 'Clueless' the Musical

    How does a musical stage adaptation of Amy Heckerling’s 1995 film comedy of oblivious privileged teens, “Clueless,” play in the era of female empowerment and millennial engagement? True, the principal skills of lead teen Cher Horowitz are the superficial ones of mall shopping and makeovers. But her sweet spirit and independence, plus some added P.C. relevance, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content