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PIERO UMILIANI Un fiorentino a Cinecittà


9:00 pm Garden and foundation open from 8pm with special drinks by Manifattura

mascarade opera studio news item

The “Piero Umiliani: A Florentine in Cinecittà” project was born from an idea of ​​Luca Andreozzi and Daniele Nannotti, with the aim of promoting and sensitizing the new generations to the works composed by Maestro Umiliani.

He was born in Florence on 17 July 1926 in Via Coluccio Salutati and attended piano lessons from an early age. He first studied Law, and then went to the Conservatory Luigi Cherubini in Florence, specialising in counterpoint and fugue. He became increasingly fond of American jazz, in particular the music of Duke Ellington and Oscar Peterson. He also was interested in Californian jazz by the likes of Jerry Mulligan. Hollywood fascinated him as it relied on the soundtracks of Italian orchestras, which Umiliani loved. In 1958, he had his first breakthrough, composing the soundtrack for Mario Monicelli’s film I Soliti Ignoti, which was nominated for an Oscar and won two Silver Ribbons.

Piero Umiliani’s career is a varied mosaic of collaborations with the greatest figures in music, film and entertainment from all over the world. He wrote the music for many Italian films, collaborated with Chet Baker and Helen Merrill on the music for L’Audace Colpo dei Soliti Ignoti. He also worked with Pier Paolo Pasolini on Accanto and with Alberto Sordi on Il Vigile. He composed the music for La Ragazza dalla Pelle di Luna and Sweden Inferno e Paradiso (from which comes the famous song Mah Na’ Mah Na), which were both directed by Luigi Scattini. Finally, we remember him for his composition of the soundtrack of La Pupa del Gangster, by Giorgio Capitani with Marcello Mastroianni and Sophia Loren.

His compositions are characterised by the jazz style, with smooth sounds and slow, cadenced rhythms. They include meaningful lyrics, such as Il Valzer della Toppa written by Pier Paolo Pasolini and sung by Laura Betti, which recounts emotions and sad memories. Just as melancholic is Chet Baker’s trumpet in Sentirsi Solo, which is featured on the soundtrack of L’Audace Colpo dei Soliti Ignoti.

The maestro’s legacy is being picked up and appreciated by artists, who are aiming to give recognition to the term Jazz Made in Italy. On 15 September 2021 a commemorative plaque was unveiled at Maestro Umiliani’s Florentine residence in Piazza della Signoria. The Istituto Luce Cinecittà is making a documentary on Umiliani’s life; Il Tocco di Piero, directed by Massimo Martella and with the participation of Enrico Pieranunzi, Edda Dell’Orso, Carlotta Proietti, the Calibro 35 and many others”. 

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