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Ottorino Respighi

On this day, Italian Composer and Violinist Ottorino Respighi Died in 1936

His signature works include his three orchestral tone poems- Fountains of Rome (1916), Pines of Rome (1924), and Roman Festivals (1928).


Italian Composer and Violinist Ottorino Respighi died on this day in 1936- 88 years ago.

A versatile Italian figure in the realm of music, he is celebrated as a composer, violinist, teacher, and musicologist, he is prominently known as one of the leading Italian composers of the early 20th century.

His composition oeuvre encompasses operas, ballets, orchestral suites, choral pieces, chamber music, and transcriptions of Italian compositions from the 16th–18th centuries. His signature works include his three orchestral tone poems- Fountains of Rome (1916), Pines of Rome (1924), and Roman Festivals (1928).

Respighi was born into a musical and artistic family in Bologna, Italy on July 18, 1879. Under the guidance of his father, he embarked on his musical journey at a young age, receiving formal training in the violin and piano. His pursuit of musical excellence led him to the Liceo Musicale di Bologna in 1891, where he delved into the study of violin, viola, and composition. During this time, he served as the principal violinist at the Russian Imperial Theatre and briefly studied under Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. In 1913, Respighi made the pivotal decision to relocate to Rome, assuming the role of professor of composition at the Liceo Musicale di Santa Cecilia. It was during this period that he formed a lasting union with his pupil, the singer Elsa Olivieri-Sangiacomo.

In 1923, Respighi made the bold choice to resign from his professorship, devoting himself entirely to touring and composing, although he continued teaching until 1935. His musical endeavors took him across the United States and South America from 1925 until his untimely passing.

In the twilight of 1935, while engrossed in composing his opera Lucrezia, Respighi fell ill and was diagnosed with bacterial endocarditis. Four months later, at the age of 56, he succumbed to the illness.

His wife, Elsa, remained a steadfast guardian of his musical legacy for nearly six decades until her passing in 1996. Conductor and composer Salvatore Di Vittorio undertook the noble task of completing several of Respighi's unfinished and previously unpublished works, including the acclaimed Violin Concerto in A major (1903), which premiered in 2010.



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