A life of music

Strongly artistic, multifaceted, innovative, can best describe Riz Ortolani’s personality, composer and orchestra director with a production background that spans from the cinema to the theatre, from classical music to television programs.

Not yet twenty, after graduating from the Gioachino Rossini Conservatory in Pesaro, his city, he moved to Rome, where he joined a group of young instrumentalists of the RAI orchestra. He soon stood out to the company managers, who assigned him to direct a jazz-symphony orchestra, resulting in immediate popularity.

His movie career started in 1962 with the sound track for the Mondo Cane documentary. The main song in the movie, More, sung by Katyna Ranieri (his wife), results in an Oscar Nomination in 1964 as “Best Theme Song” and wins the Grammy Award as “Best Instrumental Theme”. More was recorded by more than one thousand of the greatest artists in the world with 70 million records sold. Ortolani was the fist Italian musician to receive such wide ranging, large recognition repeatedly over the years, both in Italy and abroad.

Collaborations with the American Studios (MGM, United Artist, Universal) and with directors like Vittorio De Sica, Dino Risi, Franco Zeffirelli, Terence Young, Edward Dmytryk were extremely important; as well as long and fruitful artistic associations with Damiano Damiani and Pupi Avati. Among his scores, some achieved veritable “cult” status: from Mondo Cane to The Easy Life, from Anzio to Farewell Africa, from The Yellow Rolls Royce to Women of the World, from Valachi Papers to Brother Sun, Sister Moon, up to the more recent Ma Quando Arrivano Le Ragazze, La Rivincita di Natale, Il Papà di Giovanna, Una Sconfinata Giovinezza.

In 2001, in the Rossini Theater of Pesaro, the first symphony piece was performed: Sinfonia della Memoria (Symphony of Memory). In 2004, at the “Maggio Musicale Fiorentino”, his first ballet is presented by the title In Una Parte di Cielo, inspired by the life of Michelangelo.

In 2007, in Pesaro, with his wife Katina Ranieri, he established the Riz Ortolani Foundation to promote music through scholarships, seminars, discussions, concerts and exhibitions. During the same year the Musical Il Principe della Gioventù, inspired by the fascinating historical event of the Pazzi Conspiracy at the time of the Renaissance in Florence.

During the course of his long career, Ortolani directed prestigious symphonies such as the London, Berlin, Houston, Rio de Janeiro, Mexico, the Fenice in Venice, the Sinfonica of the Teatro dell’Opera in Rome, the Regio of Turin and the Philharmonique of Monte Carlo. His tour of Japan directing the Vienna Symphony Orchestra was memorable.

Awards and recognition

Grammy Award Winner
(1964) Best Instrumental Theme “More”
Golden Globe Award
(1965) Best Film Song “Forget Domani”
Golden Globe Award

(1965) Best Score “The Yellow Rolls Royce”
(1971) Best Song “Till Love touches your Life” ————————————————————————-
Academy Award (Oscar)
(1964) Best Song “More”
(1971) Best Song “Till Love touches your Life” 
Emmy Award
(1994) Best European Score TV Drama
“Un Uomo di Rispetto”

(1985) Best Score International TV
“Christopher Columbus”

(2002) BMI “More” Certificate of Achievement
for over Six Million Broadcast

(2006) BMI USA Special Citation of Achievement
for Seven Million Broadcast Performances
of “More” over fifteen hundred versions
recorded by all major artists and orchestras,
over 70 million records sold

5 David di Donatello:

(2005) Best Composer & Score
“Ma quando arrivano le Ragazze?”

(1988) Best Original Theme
“Ultimo Minuto”
(Pupi Avati)
(1987) Best Instrumental Theme
“Regalo di Natale”
(Pupi Avati)
(1986) Best Original Theme
“Festa di Laurea”
(Pupi Avati)
(1981) Migliore Musicista
(Damiano Damiani)

7 Nominations for Best Instrumental Theme: “Aiutami a Sognare”, “Fantasma d’Amore”,
“Noi Tre”, “Storia di Ragazzi e di Ragazze”,
“Nel Giardino delle Rose”, “Il Cuore Altrove”, “La Rivincita di Natale” 
3 Nastri d’Argento:

(1987) Best Score
“L’inchiesta” (Damiano Damiani)
(1984) Best Music
“Una Gita Scolastica”
(Pupi Avati)
(1987) Best Score
“Aiutami a Sognare” (Pupi Avati)

4 Nominations: “Noi tre”, “Ultimo Minuto”, “Magnificat”, “Gioco al Massacro”
Premio Cinema Italiano Diamanti al Cinema

(2005) Best Soundtrack “Ma quando arrivano le Ragazze?” ————————————————————————-

(2009) La Grande Musica per il Cinema
Politeama Foundation Catanzaro

(2008)Goffredo Petrassi Award
Goffredo Petrassi Foundation
(2007) National Cultural Award “Frontino-Montefeltro”
University of Urbino

(2007) Paul Harris Fellow Award
Rotary Foundation of Rotary International

(2007) Ambassador of Music in the World
Medal from the City of Rome 
(2006) Flajano-Cinema International
“Career” Award

(2006) Man of the Year in Music
Bocconi University Graduates Association

(2003) Award by Prince Alberto of Monaco
for “Concert for the Theater”
The Fenice Theater of Venice,
Monte Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra
(2001) Silver medal of the President of
the Italian Republic Carlo Azeglio Ciampi
for “high artistic merits”
on the occasion
of the first execution of the “Symphony of Memory”
Rossini Theater, Pesaro
(1996) Silver Ribbon ad Honorem
for “high artistic merits”
Gioachino Rossini Conservatory of Pesaro 
(1995) Commendatore of the Italian Republic
onferred by the President Oscar Luigi Scalfaro
(1995) Pesaro Press Circuit Award
“for the citizen Riziero Ortolani
who honors his city around the world”