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December 20, 2006
Morricone Celebrations in February 2007
Renowned composer to receive honorary Oscar, make debut U.S. performance at Radio City and more by Jon Burlingame

NEW YORK – Legendary Italian maestro Ennio Morricone, who will receive an honorary Academy Award on Feb. 25, will make his first and only American concert appearance on Feb. 3, 2007, at Radio City Music Hall.

Morricone, perhaps the most prolific film composer in cinema history, having written more than 400 scores for films and television, will perform with the 110-member Rome Sinfonietta orchestra and a 100-voice choir including the Canticum Novum Singers of New York and University of Buffalo Choir.

The 78-year-old composer – whose famous scores include The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Once Upon a Time in the West, Days of Heaven, Once Upon a Time in America, 1900, The Mission, The Untouchables and Cinema Paradiso – is expected to conduct many of his well-known themes.

Massimo Gallotta Productions is presenting the concert, which is to be recorded for possible future telecast and/or DVD release. Says Gallotta: "Morricone's first-time appearance here in New York City will mark an important musical as well as cultural exchange between Italy and the United States." (Tickets, $60-$200, are available through Ticketmaster or at the Radio City Music Hall box office.)

In addition to his Radio City Music Hall appearance, Morricone will conduct a private concert on Feb. 2 at the General Assembly of the United Nations to welcome incoming Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon of South Korea. That concert will feature Morricone's Voci dal Silencio (Voices From the Silence), a piece inspired by the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the Twin Towers.

Other New York arts organizations have joined in the Morricone celebration. The Museum of Modern Art will present a six-film retrospective Feb. 1-7: The Battle of Algiers (1965) Feb. 1, The Mission (1986) Feb. 1 and 2, U-Turn (1997) Feb. 2 and 5, Two Mules for Sister Sara (1970) Feb. 3 and 5, Once Upon a Time in the West (1969) Feb. 3, Once Upon a Time in America (1984) Feb. 4 and 7. Morricone himself will introduce The Mission on Feb. 1.

New York's Film Forum will present a three-week, 26-film festival of Morricone films Feb. 2-22. Among the notable films in this showcase: Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion (1970) Feb. 2 and 3, The Burglars (1972) and Danger: Diabolik (1967) Feb. 6, Four Flies on Grey Velvet (1972) Feb. 8, Burn! (1969) Feb. 11, Revolver (1973) Feb. 12, Days of Heaven (1978) and End of the Game (1976) Feb. 14, The Untouchables (1987) and Machine Gun McCain (1968) Feb. 18 and 19, White Dog (1982) Feb. 20 and Duck You Sucker (1971) Feb. 21.

More information on the screenings is available at www.moma.org and at filmforum.org.

SonyBMG Masterworks is scheduled to release a Morricone tribute album in the spring, featuring such stars as Renee Fleming, Andrea Bocelli, Il Divo, Yo-Yo Ma, Bruce Springsteen, Celine Dion and Metallica.

Morricone will conclude February on an especially high note. He will accept an honorary Oscar "for his magnificent and multifaceted contributions to the art of film music" at the 79th annual Academy Awards on Feb. 25 at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood.

The maestro has received five Oscar nominations (for Days of Heaven, The Mission, The Untouchables, Bugsy and Malena) but never won. His will be only the second honorary Oscar given to a composer; Alex North received one in 1986.

©2006 Jon Burlingame

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