Ennio Morricone born 10 November 1928 in Rome is an Italian composer especially noted for his film scores. He has composed the scores of more than 500 motion pictures and television series, in a career lasting over 50 years. His scores have been included in over 30 award-winning films as well as several symphonic and choral pieces. Morricone is most famous for his work in the spaghetti westerns directed by his friend Sergio Leone. Morricone's sparse style of composition for the genre is particularly exemplified by the soundtracks of the classic spaghetti westerns The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (Sergio Leone, 1966) and Once Upon a Time in the West (Sergio Leone, 1968).
Born in Rome, Morricone took up the trumpet as a child and attended the National Academy of Santa Cecilia to take lessons on the instrument at the age of nine. He formally entered a conservatory at the age of 12, enrolling in a four-year harmony programme. He received his trumpet diploma in 1946 and started working professionally, composing the music to "Il Mattino" ("The Morning"). Morricone soon gained popularity by writing his first background music for radio dramas and quickly moved into film.
In the 1950s he received the "Diploma in Instrumentation for Band" (fanfare) where he won a diploma in Composition under the composer Goffredo Petrassi. In 1955, Morricone started to ghost write and arrange music for other, already established film composers. Morricone soon came to the attention of his former school friend Sergio Leone, who hired Morricone to compose the music to some of his best known films. Together they created a distinctive score to accompany Leone's different version of the Western, A Fistful of Dollars.
He received his first Nastro d'Argento in 1970 for the music in Metti, una Sera a Cena (Giuseppe Patroni Griffi, 1969) and his second only a year later for Sacco and Vanzetti (Guiliano Montaldo, 1971). He received his first nomination for an Academy Award in 1979 for the score to Days of Heaven (Terrence Malick, 1978) and another in 1986 for The Mission, 1987 for The Untouchables (Brian De Palma, 1987), 1991 for Bugsy (Barry Levinson, 1991) and 2001 for Malèna (Giuseppe Tornatore, 2000).
In 2003 he scored the Japanese Taiga drama about Miyamoto Musashi, Japan's legendary warrior. In 2005 he was on a world tour with the Roma Sinfonietta Orchestra, touring from cities like New York, Bilbao, Bratislava and Tokyo. In 2006, Morricone collaborated with Morrissey by composing the string part for his song "Dear God Please Help Me", recorded in Rome's Forum Music Village Studios. In recognition of his vast body of work and dedication, Morricone received an honorary Academy Award in 2007; Morricone had received nominations for Best Original Score in the past, but had failed to win.
Ennio Morricone visited Ireland for the first time to perform his only UK and Ireland engagement of 2008 at the Opening Concert of the Belfast Festival at Queen's. The concert took place at Belfast's Waterfront Hall on Friday 17th October, just days before Morricone’s 80th birthday. He conducted the Roma Sinfonietta Orchestra and Belfast Philharmonic Choir, with over 100 musicians flying to Belfast especially for the occasion.