Virgilio Savona

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Virgilio Savona in the 1950s

Antonio Virgilio Savona (21 December 1919 – 27 August 2009) was an Italian composer, arranger, and singer in the Italian vocal group, the Quartetto Cetra.[1]


Savona was born at Palermo, Italy. His artistic career started very early. In 1926, aged 6, he began studying music. Two years later, he joined a choir and at the age of 10, he debuted in a radio broadcast playing a piece on a piano during a children's program.

After high-school, Savona enrolled at the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome to study piano.

In 1941, he replaced Iacopo Jacomelli in a vocal quartet called Quartetto Egie. The group changed name to Quartetto Ritmo at first, then to Quartetto Cetra one year later.

On 19 August 1944 Virgilio Savona married the singer Lucia Mannucci, who later joined Quartetto Cetra to replace Enrico De Angelis, who left the group in 1947.

Besides singing, Savona composed and arranged for the group. He wrote the music while Tata Giacobetti, also a member of the quartet, wrote the lyrics. They collaborated for four decades and produced hundreds of songs which made up Quartetto Cetra's vast repertoire.

Savona composed music and wrote scripts for radio and TV programs, stage shows and films. During the 1970s, he was active as pianist, orchestra conductor, arranger and producer. He extensively researched on folk songs. In 1971, he wrote Angela, a song for Angela Davis, Afro-American communist leader, innocent in prison at this time. In 70s, he published also other controversial songs, as Il testamento del parroco Meslier ("The Testament of Parson Meslier"), a violent attack on power and religion, based on the Testament of the priest and illuminist atheist philosopher Jean Meslier.

In 1991, he wrote a popup book about Quartetto Cetra, published by Sperling & Kupfer in the Supersound collection.

He died in Milan in 2009 from complications of Parkinson's disease.


  1. ^ Mario Luzzatto Fegiz, Corriere della Sera (29 August 2009). Addio a Virgilio Savona, ideologo del Quartetto Cetra. Retrieved 13 December 2012.