Ottorino Respighi


Born: July 9th 1897 – Bologna, Italy
Died: April 18th 1936 – Rome Italy


A few facts about Ottorino Respighi

  • In 1900, Respighi started his career as principal violist in the Russian Imperial Theatre Orchestra, Saint Petersburg. He later studied orchestration with composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov.  In 1902 he also took composition lessons with Max Bruch in Berlin.
  • He held the position of Composition professor at Rome’s Conservatorio di Santa Cecilia from 1917 until his death in 1936.  As a musicologist he was devoted to early Italian music.  Much of what he had unearthed was incorporated into his compositions including today’s piece – Ancient Airs and Dances Suite No. 3.
  • He had a very uneasy relationship with Mussolini’s Fascist Party and on more than one occasion defended more outspoken critics such as conductor Arturo Toscanini.
  • His wife, Elsa Respighi, (neé Olivieri-Sangiacomo) (1894-1996) was a former pupil. She was a singer, composer, and tireless champion of his work. After his death she completed Lucrezia, his final opera.  In his centennial year she oversaw performances and recordings of many of his long-neglected works.


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