At Age 90, Famed Composer Ennio Morricone Reveals His Best Life Advice

Ennio Morricone and Quentin Tarantino
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

Morricone (right) with Tarantino in 2016.

Composer Ennio Morricone is celebrating his 90th birthday on Nov. 10, and he has been nothing but prolific as of late. He won his second Oscar at 87 for scoring Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight, and is currently on The 60 Years of Music Tour of Europe, which runs through late January 2019. While his work for The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is considered some of the best music ever written for film, it’s just one small part of the more than 500 film and TV works he has composed, as well as 100 pieces in his classical music canon. Just shy of entering his 10th decade, Morricone shares some knowledge from real-life experiences.

Combating Writer’s Block

“In order to overcome this challenge, everything depends on the technical know-how of the craft, because what we call inspiration doesn’t exist. What exists is the willingness to do more and overcome difficulty. Music is something that must come from your soul, but what really helps me is this combination of technical know-how and willingness.”

Staying Healthy

“I always lead a regular life. I never smoked a cigarette. I drink moderately, just a glass of wine at lunch or dinner. Early to bed, early to rise. I do exercises for the legs or arms, chest, neck, everything. I do that every single day. Maybe that’s the secret.”

Succeeding As a Composer Today

“I can base this on my experience, so in my opinion, a young composer should do what I did. That’s just to study a lot and try to compose music as they used to do in the past century. I studied with my maestro, Goffredo Petrassi, at the conservatory. This is the starting point, but then the work is really to practice composing, writing and trying to experience all the different possibilities that music can offer today from the highest point to the most simple one.”

This article originally appeared in the Nov. 10 issue of Billboard.


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