Piero Piccioni

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Piero Piccioni

Piero Piccioni (Italian pronunciation: [ˈpjɛːro pitˈtʃoːni]; December 6, 1921 – July 23, 2004) was an Italian film score composer and lawyer.

A pianist, organist, conductor, composer, he was also the prolific author of more than 300 film soundtracks. He played for the first time on radio in 1938 with his “013” Big Band, to return on air only after the liberation of Italy in 1944. “013” was the first Italian jazz band to be broadcast in Italy after the fall of Fascism.

Early life[edit]

Piero Piccioni was born in Turin, Piedmont. His mother's maiden name was Marengo, hence his pseudonym Piero Morgan, which he adopted until 1957.

When he was growing up, his father Attilio Piccioni (a prominent member of the Italian Christian Democratic Party with the post-war Italian government), would frequently take him to hear concerts at the EIAR Radio Studios in Florence. Having listened to jazz throughout his childhood (he loved the music of Art Tatum and Charlie Parker) and attending studies at the Conservatorio Luigi Cherubini, Piero Piccioni became a musician.


Piccioni made his radio debut at 17 with his 013 Big Band in 1938, but only returned on air after the liberation of Italy in 1944. His 013 was the first Italian jazz band to be broadcast in Italy after the fall of Fascism.

He was influenced in the use of jazz by 20th century classical composers and American films. Directors he liked included Frank Capra, Alfred Hitchcock, Billy Wilder, and John Ford, while Alex North was a film score composer he admired. He began writing songs of his own and was soon able to get some of his works published by Carisch editions.

Piero Piccioni came into contact with the movie world in Rome during the fifties, when he was a practicing lawyer securing movie rights for Italian producers such as Titanus and De Laurentiis. During that time, Michelangelo Antonioni had called Piccioni to score a documentary film directed by Luigi Polidoro, one of his apprentices. Piccioni’s first score for a feature film was Gianni Franciolini’s Il mondo le condanna (1952). He consequently changed his lawyer's "toga" for a conductor's baton. He developed close-knit working relationships with directors Francesco Rosi and Alberto Sordi, and established strong personal and professional bonds with them.

Many directors sought Piero Piccioni to score the soundtracks for their films: Francesco Rosi, Mario Monicelli, Alberto Lattuada, Luigi Comencini, Luchino Visconti, Antonio Pietrangeli, Bernardo Bertolucci, Roberto Rossellini, Vittorio De Sica, Lina Wertmuller, Tinto Brass, Dino Risi, and others.

His film scores include Il bell'Antonio, Contempt, The 10th Victim, More Than a Miracle, The Deserter, The Light at the Edge of the World, Puppet on a Chain, Lucky Luciano, Camille 2000, The Nun and the Devil, Swept Away, Christ Stopped at Eboli, Fighting Back, and many Alberto Sordi movies. He is credited with over 300 soundtracks and compositions for radio, television, ballets and orchestra. Among his favorite vocalists were female soul singer Shawn Robinson and Edinburgh born Lydia MacDonald.

Awards and legacy[edit]

Piccioni won many prestigious prizes including the David di Donatello Award for the movie Swept Away (1975), Nastro d’argento Award for the movie Salvatore Giuliano by Francesco Rosi (1963), Prix International Lumière 1991, Anna Magnani Award 1975 and Vittorio De Sica Award 1979.

His song "Traffic Boom" was featured as the song for the fictional Logjammin' movie-within-a-movie in The Big Lebowski.

The song "It's Possible" was sampled by DJ Khaled in "Jermaine's Interlude" on his Major Key album.

In 1953 Piccioni was implicated in the Montesi scandal, after he was identified by journalists as being the 'blonde' who handed in clothes of Wilma Montesi after her death. The accusations were recanted by the journalist Marco Cesarini Sforza after legal pressure was applied.


Piccioni died in Rome in 2004.

Selected filmography[edit]

Year Film Directed by Singles Latest CD / Digital Release
1954 The Beach [[]]
1960 Il bell'Antonio [[]]
From a Roman Balcony [[]]
The Hunchback of Rome [[]]
1961 La Viaccia [[]]
Duel of the Titans [[]]
The Two Marshals [[]]
1962 The Slave [[]]
Salvatore Giuliano [[]]
The Captive City [[]]
1963 Contempt [[]]
The Shortest Day [[]]
Hands over the City [[]]
The Terrorist [[]]
The Girl from Parma [[]]
1964 La fuga [[]]
1965 The Moment of Truth [[]]
The Three Faces [[]]
The 10th Victim [[]] Easy Tempo / 1998
Minnesota Clay [[]]
Agent 077: From the Orient with Fury [[]]
1966 Fumo di Londra [[]] Avanz / 1999
1967 The Witches Luchino Visconti, Mauro Bolognini, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Franco Rossi, Vittorio De Sica Digitmovies / CDDM296 / 2018
The Stranger Luchino Visconti Verita Note / VQCD-10063 / 2008
More Than a Miracle Francesco Rosi Film Score Monthly / FSM Vol. 14 No. 7 / 2011
An Italian in America Alberto Sordi
1968 OSS 117 - Double Agent [[]]
Ballad of a Bounty Hunter [[]]
If You Meet Sartana Pray for Your Death [[]]
1969 Camille 2000 [[]]
Help Me, My Love [[]]
Kenner (film) [[]]
Check to the Queen [[]]
1970 Le coppie [[]]
So Long Gulliver [[]]
The Syndicate: A Death in the Family [[]]
The President of Borgorosso Football Club [[]]
1971 The Deserter [[]]
Marta [[]]
The Light at the Edge of the World [[]] Quartet / 2014
Puppet on a Chain [[]] Silva Screen / SILCD1519 / 2017
A Girl in Australia [[]]
Seven Murders for Scotland Yard [[]] Beat Records / CDCR 29 / 1996
1972 The Mattei Affair [[]]
The Seduction of Mimi [[]]
The Scientific Cardplayer [[]]
The Monk [[]]
Watch Out Gringo! Sabata Will Return [[]]
1973 The Nun and the Devil Domenico Paolella Digitmovies / CDDM015 / 2004
My Brother Anastasia Steno
Lucky Luciano Francesco Rosi
Story of a Cloistered Nun Fernando Cerchio Digitmovies / CDDM015 / 2004
1974 Kidnap [[]]
The Kiss [[]]
Appassionata [[]] Quartet Records / QRSCE028 / 2011
All Screwed Up [[]]
Swept Away [[]] Beat Records / DDJ016 / 2012
1976 Illustrious Corpses [[]]
1979 Christ Stopped at Eboli [[]]
1982 Fighting Back Lewis Teague Quartet Records / QR230 / 2016
1985 I Am an ESP [[]]
1987 Chronicle of a Death Foretold [[]]
1990 L'avaro [[]]
1992 Acquitted for Having Committed the Deed [[]]

External links[edit]