Bill Conti


Oscar and three-time Emmy Award-winner Bill Conti is one of Hollywood’s most sought-after composers and conductors for both film and television. Born in Providence, Rhode Island on April 13, 1942. Conti began studying piano at age seven under the tutelage of his father, an accomplished pianist, sculptor and painter. He moved to Miami, Florida in 1960’s with family while a teenager. Here he organized a band and began to play for high school dances in Miami, Florida at the age of 15. He was a member of his high school band and symphony orchestra and won the Silver Knight Award from the Miami Herald for high achievement in the field of music. Conti received a bassoon scholarship from Louisiana State University where he majored in composition and played jazz piano at many of the local night spots to help defray the costs of his education. While attending LSU, he held a variety of musical posts including first chair bassoon in the school symphony orchestra, the staff arranger for the University’s marching band and accompanist for the LSU Ballet Corps. It was in this capacity that he met his wife, Shelby, who was a member of the Ballet Corps and a soloist with the Modern Dance Group. After Conti received his Bachelor of Music degree from LSU, he auditioned and was accepted at the Juilliard School of Music in New York where he studied with such musical greats as Hugo Weisgall, Vincent Persichetti, Roger Sessions, Luciano Berio a Jorge Mester. In 1965 Conti won the Marion Feschl Prize for having composed the best song of the year. In 1967 he moved to Rome, Italy to study opera composition scored first film Candidate for a Killing. He made his film music debut in 1969 on the British film Juliette De Sade , directed by Warren Kiefer, but did not become internationally recognised until the mid-1970’s. In 1971 Conti met Paul Mazursky at the Venice Film Festival. He was plucked from obscurity to act as musical director for Paul Mazursky’s 1973 film Blume in Love. He returned to the USA and wrote the score for Mazursky’s Harry a Tonto in 1974. Conti was a popular and successful Hollywood mainstay, achieving world-wide fame for his legendary songs Gonna Fly Now from “Rocky” (1977) and All Time High from “For Your Eyes Only” (1984). During the 1970’s and 1980’s he composed mostly of his scores, his most popular and successful works include Harry and Tonto (1974), Rocky II. (1979), Private Benjamin (1980), For Your Eyes Only (1981), Rocky III. (1982), The Right Stuff (1983), The Karate Kid (1984), North and South (1985), The Karate Kid Part II. (1986), FX: Murder by Illusion (1986), Broadcast News (1987) a Masters of the Universe (1987). He was awarded an Oscar in 1984 for his score for the classic astronaut movie The Right Stuff. Conti’s work isn’t only scores for movies, but it consists of music for TV movie and TV series too. The beginning of his production for TV was theme to the CBS’s TV series Executive Suite. In 1981 he composed theme to ABC’s TV series Dynasty and in 1985 he composed score to TV miniseries North and South, which is from his work for TV the most familiar. Although the public may not be aware of it, Bill Conti has composed some of the most recognizable themes for television broadcasts, including those for the 1984 “Good Morning America”, “Turning Point”, “World News Tonight”, “Prime Time Live”, “Nightline”, “ABC Sports”, “Inside Edition” and “American Gladiators”. He has also composed music for numerous television commercials advertising products for “Honda”, “Pizza Hut”, “Sprite” a “Coca Cola”. During the 1983-84 television season, Bill Conti set an all-time industry record for having composed the themes for five television series playing concurrently in prime time. However, he broke his own record in 1986-87 when that number increased to nine: “Dynasty”, “Falcon Crest”, “Cagney & Lacey”, “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous”, “OHara”, “The Colby’s”, “Our World”, “Business Week” and “Mariah”. Conti’s work for the small screen has been equally as critically acclaimed, receiving a total of ten Emmy nominations throughout his career. He won two Emmy Awards in 1990 for developing the creative concept and composing the score for the running of the New York City Marathon, which was telecast by ABC. Conti conducted the Juilliard Symphony Orchestra during the course of the marathon live from Lincoln Center – a first in television sports coverage. He won his third Emmy in 1992 for his musical direction during the telecast of the Academy Award Ceremonies, marking the first time an Emmy was awarded for a participant in the Oscar ceremonies and if we talk about the Academy Awards, its to the fore suggest, that Conti during the 1990-1995 and consequently in 1998 served as musical director for the annual telecasts of the Academy Awards. In 1991 became Conti principal Pops conductor of the Nashville Symphony Orchestra. From 1990’s worth mentioning the score from IMAX movies Grand Canyon: The Hidden Secrets (1991) and Yellowstone (1994), as the score from movie Year of the Gun (1991), The Adventures of Huck Finn (1993) and The Thoma Crown Affair (1999). In 1995 the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) awarded Conti the Golden Soundtrack Award for lifetime achievement in film and television. Lately he composed music rather to TV movie and although his time of greatest glory are gone, I think, that he has still propose to us.

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