28 November 1913
Milan, Milano, Lombardia, Italy
6 January 2002 (aged 88)
Mario Nascimbene was one of the most widely known Italian film soundtrack composers of the 20th Century. His career spanned six decades and he earned several awards for the innovative contents of his composing style. During his career he composed soundtracks for more than 150 movies.
Nascimbene studied composition and orchestra conduction at the "Giuseppe Verdi" Conservatory of Music in Milan under the guidance of Ildebrando Pizzetti, and after graduation he wrote several pieces for chamber music and ballet.
He was commissioned to write the soundtrack for the movie "L'amore canta" (Love Song), directed in 1941 by Ferdinando Maria Poggioli, and the success of this musical movie opened him the doors of an entirely new career, as before him there weren't many composers who focused almost exclusively on writing music for the silver screen.
He was particularly appreciated for the revolutionary innovation of incorporating the sounds of non-orchestral instruments like that of a Jew's harp or a harmonica, and everyday noises (like the tick-tock of a clock, the ring of a bicycle bell or the ticking sound of typewriters in Rome 11:00) in the musical score, with the purpose to underline some particular movie scenes.
After World War II he developed an artistical partnership with some famous Italian film directors like Giuseppe De Santis and Roberto Rossellini. His work found acclaim in the US as well, as he was called to Hollywood to compose the score for famous movies like The Barefoot Contessa directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz in 1954, Alexander the Great, directed by Robert Rossen in 1956, and Solomon and Sheba directed by King Vidor in 1959.
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