Friday, August 28, 2009

RIP Antonio Virgilio Savona

Composer, arranger and singer Antonio Virgilio Savona passed away on August 27th in Milan, Italy. He was 89 years-old. Savona was born on January 1, 1920 in Palermo, Sicily. His artistic career had a very early start. In 1926, aged 6, he began studying music. Two years later he joined a choir and at the age of 10 he debuted in a radio broadcast playing a piece on a piano during a children's program. After high-school, Savona enrolled at the Saint Cecilia's Conservatory in Rome to study piano. In 1941 he replaced Iacopo Jacomelli in a vocal quartet called “Quartetto Egie”. The group changed name to “Quartetto Ritmo” at first, then to “Quartetto Cetra” one year later. On August 19, 1944. Virgilio Savona married the singer Lucia Mannucci, who later joined Quartetto Cetra to replace Enrico De Angelis who left the group in 1947. Besides singing, Savona was the group's composer and arranger. He wrote the music while Tata Giacobetti, also a member of the quartet, wrote the lyrics. They worked together for four decades and produced hundreds of songs which made up Quartetto Cetra's vast repertoire. Savona also composed music and wrote scripts for radio and TV programs, stage shows and movies. During 1970s he was quite active as pianist, orchestra conductor, arranger and producer. He also made extensive research on folk songs. In 1991 he wrote an autobiographical book about Quartetto Cetra, published by Sperling & Kupfer in the Supersound collection.
Savona and the Quartetto Cetra appeared on a Spaghetti Western oriented TV show called “Don’t Shoot Sing” (1965)

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