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Piero Piccioni

Piero Piccioni

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Also Known As: Gian Piero Piccioni Died:
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One of the most prolific composers from the golden age of Italian film soundtracks, Piero Piccioni scored nearly 200 films between 1953 and 1998. Although Piccioni had grown up in a musical family, and had even formed one of Italy's first jazz orchestras prior to World War II, the Turin native was working as a lawyer in Rome in the early 1950s when he first came into contact with the thriving postwar film industry; noted director Michelangelo Antonioni suggested he provide a jazz score for a friend's documentary. From that casual beginning, Piccioni quickly became nearly as much in demand as his contemporaries Ennio Morricone and Piero Umiliani. His jazz background, which quickly grew to include a strong bossa nova element as that Brazilian style became internationally popular in the early 1960s, strongly colors his scores, making his style reminiscent of American contemporaries like Nelson Riddle and Henry Mancini; though many of the films he scored are at best charming period pieces, his soundtrack albums garner a high price on the collectors' market, and even many of his most obscure film scores have been reissued or bootlegged over the years. His career highlights include a special Italy-only...

One of the most prolific composers from the golden age of Italian film soundtracks, Piero Piccioni scored nearly 200 films between 1953 and 1998. Although Piccioni had grown up in a musical family, and had even formed one of Italy's first jazz orchestras prior to World War II, the Turin native was working as a lawyer in Rome in the early 1950s when he first came into contact with the thriving postwar film industry; noted director Michelangelo Antonioni suggested he provide a jazz score for a friend's documentary. From that casual beginning, Piccioni quickly became nearly as much in demand as his contemporaries Ennio Morricone and Piero Umiliani. His jazz background, which quickly grew to include a strong bossa nova element as that Brazilian style became internationally popular in the early 1960s, strongly colors his scores, making his style reminiscent of American contemporaries like Nelson Riddle and Henry Mancini; though many of the films he scored are at best charming period pieces, his soundtrack albums garner a high price on the collectors' market, and even many of his most obscure film scores have been reissued or bootlegged over the years. His career highlights include a special Italy-only score for Jean-Luc Godard's "Contempt," the Peter Sellers caper comedy "After the Fox" (incongruously directed by former neo-realist master Vittorio de Sica), and Lena Wertmuller's 1975 masterpiece "Swept Away."

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