Pietro Mascagni

Pietro Mascagni
Composer, conductor
Pietro Mascagni (1863–1945) was an Italian composer and conductor. In 1882, he was admitted to the Milan Conservatory, where he studied under Ponchielli. After leaving the conservatory two years later, he became the conductor of a travelling operetta company and then later married and settled down in Cerignola to work as a teacher. His 1889 opera Cavalleria rusticana – for which he put aside work on Guglielmo Ratcliff, another opera of his – won a one-act opera competition sponsored by the Sonzogno music publishing house. The winning work was premiered in Rome in 1890 and was soon triumphing all over the world. This success overshadowed all of his later compositions, and for a long time he was considered a one-work composer. He later enjoyed relatively major successes with his operas Iris (1898) and Il piccolo Marat (1921).
Mascagni was also an outstanding conductor of both orchestral concerts and opera. When Arturo Toscanini, in symbolic protest of fascism, resigned from the position of music director of La Scala in 1929, Mascagni took over a number of his duties.
In addition to his operas, Mascagni also wrote songs, orchestral works, sacred music, piano works, cantatas, an operetta, film music and a symphonic poem.


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