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O ttorino Respighi
Ottorino Respighi was born in 1879 in Bologna, Italy, into a family of trained musicians. At the age of twelve he began his own formal musical education at the Liceo Musicale, where he studied for ten years, taking his diploma in violin performance. At the end of this period, he made summer visits to St. Petersburg, where he studied with Nicolay Rimsky-Korsakov. From there, he moved to Berlin and studied with Max Bruch. During these years, he was a performer as well as a composer, playing violin, viola, and piano. He finally settled down in Rome in 1913 to a life of composition and education. As an educator, he achieved the status of director of Santa Cecilia Conservatory from 1924 to 1926. He cut short his tenure there to pursue full-time his composition and performance career.
He was a prolific composer in a variety of genres. His works include eight operas, two ballets, thirteen symphonies, eight concerti, five choral works, and eleven pieces for chamber orchestra. Respighi bridged the past and the present with his great love and respect for older musical forms. Concerto gregoriano (1921) captured the nature of Gregorian plainchant in a violin concerto. Many regard him as the last significant Italian composer; the irony is that he built his collection on the forms of centuries before. The mainstream of Respighis compositions were the symphonic poems, most often capturing the spirit of some well-recognized Italian theme, such as Pini di Roma (The Pines of Rome) and