Ennio Morricone and John Williams

Discover the careers of the composers jointly granted the 2020 Princess of Asturias Award for the Arts.

By Fundación Princesa de Asturias

Fundación Princesa de Asturias

Through their power of communication and evocation of images, stories and situations, film scores have often transcended the films for which they were created.

The countless compositions that Morricone and Williams have written have not only served as a backdrop to accentuate atmospheres or define characters, but have gone beyond the silver screen and managed to perfectly mix the wealth of musical history with the sound of their time, without forgetting their own idiosyncrasies.

Ennio Morricone and John Williams, 2020 Princess of Asturias Award for the ArtsFundación Princesa de Asturias

Ennio Morricone (Rome, 10th November 1928 - 6th July 2020) was trained in all specialties of musical composition and in 1961 made his film debut with the soundtrack for Luciano Salce’s film, El federal.

He subsequently gained international fame with the scores for Sergio Leone’s spaghetti western genre films, such as A Fistful of Dollars and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, among others.

Ennio Morricone in concert at the Unipol Arena by Il Fatto QuotidianoFundación Princesa de Asturias

He is one of the most prolific film composers in the world, with more than four hundred soundtracks for film and television, outstanding among which are films such as The Mission (1986), Cinema Paradiso (1988), Frantic (1988) and The Star Maker (1995).

Ennio Morricone directing by Gabriel MolinaFundación Princesa de Asturias

He has composed chamber music, symphonic pieces, operas and hundreds of songs for light and pop music artists.

In 2018, on the occasion of his 90th birthday, Morricone started “The Final Concerts World Tour” with which he bade farewell to the stage. He toured more than 35 European cities, giving over 50 concerts.

Ennio MorriconeFundación Princesa de Asturias

Chevalier of the French Legion of Honour and Commander, Grand Officer and Knight of the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic, he has received 27 gold records and 7 platinum records and numerous awards: various BAFTAs, Golden Globes, Grammies, David de Donatellos, the Golden Lion Award for Lifetime Achievement in Venice (1995) and the Polar Music Prize (Sweden, 2010).

Ennio Morricone at the Meeting Rimini by Meeting RiminiFundación Princesa de Asturias

In 2007, he was awarded the Honorary Oscar for Lifetime Achievement, and in 2016, he won the Oscar and his third Golden Globe for the soundtrack for Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight and had his star placed on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

In 2019, Pope Francis presented him with the Pontifical Gold Medal and in 2020 he received the Camille Award from the European Alliance of Authors and Composers for Lifetime Achievement.

Ennio Morricone Film Music CollectionFundación Princesa de Asturias

John Williams (New York, 8th February 1932) received his musical training collaborating with some of the most prominent figures in American classic cinema, such as Alfred Newman, Franz Waxman and Bernard Herrmann.

John Williams directing by Todd RosenbergFundación Princesa de Asturias

Considered one of the most popular orchestral composers of the modern era, he has created the music for some of the most iconic soundtracks in film history, such as Jaws, E.T. the Extraterrestrial, Superman, Indiana Jones, Schindler’s List, Jurassic Park, Memoirs of a Geisha, the first three films in the Harry Potter series and the one considered to be the most popular soundtrack in film history, that of the Star Wars saga.

John Williams & Vienna Philharmonic – Williams: Theme from “Jurassic Park” by Deutsche GrammophonFundación Princesa de Asturias

With jazz influences, his music ranges from the symphonic sound of the great orchestras to intimate pieces, as well as encompassing popular or folk styles.

He has composed the scores to more than one hundred films, has created symphonies and concerts for flute, violin, clarinet, viola, oboe, cello and tuba and has been commissioned to compose for various orchestras.

Partitura de Star Wars by Sam HowzitFundación Princesa de Asturias

In 1980 he was appointed conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra, a position from which he retired in 1993, and maintains a relationship with many other orchestras, such as the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic.

He has received five Academy Awards in the categories of Best Adaptation Score for Fiddler on the Roof (1971) and Best Original Music for Jaws (1975), Star Wars (1977), E.T. the Extraterrestrial (1982) and Schindler’s List (1993).

John Williams at the Hollywood Bowl by Margaret NapierFundación Princesa de Asturias

In addition, the 52 nominations he has received throughout his career make him the living person with the most nominations for these awards, second only to Walt Disney.

He holds honorary degrees from various universities, the IOC Olympic Order, twenty-five Grammy Awards, four Golden Globes and seven BAFTAs, the National Medal of Arts (USA, 2009) and, among others, the AFI Life Achievement Award (2016), which went to a composer for the first time.

John Williams & Vienna Philharmonic – Williams: Imperial March (from “Star Wars”) by Deutsche GrammophonFundación Princesa de Asturias

Reading of the minutes of the jury for the 2020 Princess of Asturias Award for the Arts

Ennio Morricone and John Williams, 2020 Princess of Asturias Award for the ArtsFundación Princesa de Asturias

Credits: Story

© Fundación Princesa de Asturias

Images:
"Ennio Morricone" by Il Fatto Quotidiano is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
"Ennio Morricone" by breatheoutnow is licensed under CC BY 2.0
"Ennio Morricone" by Il Fatto Quotidiano is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
"Ennio Morricone al Meeting" by Meeting Rimini is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
© Todd Rosenberg Photography 2009
"John Williams at the Hollywood Bowl" by MargaretNapier is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0
"Star Wars Score" by Sam Howzit is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Texts: Fundación Princesa de Asturias

Translation: Paul Barnes

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