Ottorino Respighi - Biography

Ottorino Respighi Biography

Ottorino Respighi (born in Bologna on July 9, 1879, died in Rome on April 18, 1936) was an Italian composer and musicologist. He is perhaps best known for his three suites of Ancient Airs and Dances.

Respighi's father was a piano teacher, who taught the child violin and piano. Ottorino continued studying violin with Federico Sarti at the Liceo Musicale in Bologna, and composition with Giuseppe Martucci and the early music scholar Luigi Torchi. Later Respighi briefly studied composition with Rimsky-Korsakov in Russia, and considered these lessons very important. He also had composition lessons with Max Bruch.

Respighi was also a musicologist, a devoted scholar of Italian music of the 16th-18th centuries. He published editions of the music of Claudio Monteverdi and Antonio Vivaldi, and of Benedetto Marcello's Didone. Because of his devotion to these older sources (which worked its way to many of his compositions), many would start to consider him as a typical exponent of Neo-classicism (while Neo-Renaissance or Neo-Baroque would probably be more accurate to describe most of his compositions based on older work). In fact, different from the style of most neo-classicist compositions, Respighi kept more or less clear from the musical idiom of the classical period: he rather combined pre-classical musical forms (like dance suites) with a typical 19th century romantic idiom (e.g. the musical idiom associated with symphonic poems in the romantic period)

Some of his compositions:

Respighi's wife Elsa (nťe Olivieri-Sangiacomo) made ballets of the Ancient Airs and Dances Suites.

From 1923 to 1926 Respighi was director of the Conservatorio di Santa Cecilia, and until 1935 taught composition there. In 1925 he collaborated with Luciani on an elementary textbook entitled Orpheus.

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