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Biography

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Overview (4)

Born in Venice, Italy
Died in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, England, UK
Birth NameAnnunzio Paolo Mantovani
Nickname Monty

Mini Bio (1)

Annunzio Paolo Mantovani was born November 15, 1905, in Venice, Italy, the son of a violinist who performed at La Scala under the baton of maestro Arturo Toscanini. Born into a musical household, Mantovani was taught the piano and music theory while a youth. When Mantovani's father was appointed conductor of the orchestra at London's Covent Garden theater in 1912, he moved with his family to England, which became his life-long home.

Following in his father's footsteps, Mantovani switched to violin at the age of 14, though he remained adept at the piano, which he used for composing music. At the age of 16, he made his debut as a professional violinist. As a member of a touring orchestra, he quickly matured as a performer and became a featured soloist. Appointed the conductor of the Hotel Metropole Orchestra in 1925, Mantovani made his first recordings with the group in 1928.

Mantovani's critical reputation as a virtuoso on the violin was established in 1930 and 1931 with a series of recitals. It was at this time, he organized the Tipica Orchestra to make radio broadcasts from London's tony Monseigneur restaurant. The Tipica Orchestra successfully toured England while recording for multiple labels in the period of 1932-1936, winding up on Columbia. Mantovani and the Tipica Orchestra scored major hits in the United States with "Red Sails in the Sunset" and "Serenade to the Night," after which Columbia changed the billing on the records to "Mantovani & His Orchestra." In 1940, Mantovani left Columbia and signed with Decca, which would be his label for the next 33 years.

Mantovani & His Orchestra were extremely popular in England during the early 1940s. During World War II, Mantovani served as musical director for a number of theatrical productions, but after the end of the war, Mantovani turned away from live performance and concentrated on recording. With arranger Ronald Binge, the former accordion-player for the Tipica Orchestra, Mantovania developed the lush sound he became famous for: the "cascading strings" (also known as "tumbling strings" effect. This emphasis on the string section that was his signature became a hallmark of "easy listening" music (also known as "light orchestral" music). The cascading strings effect (which was used frequently in movie and television scores for a generation afterwards by Mantovani imitators) was first employed on the 1951 single "Charmaine." The single sold over 1 million copies and opened the U.S. market to Mantovani's music for the first time since the mid-1930's.

Mantovani became a hit machine, releasing a plethora of hit singles in the early to mid-1950s, including "Song from Moulin Rouge," a #1 platter in 1953. Mantovani co-wrote and arranged (and backed with his orchestra) David Whitfield on his own #1 British smash "Cara Mia" in 1954, which cracked the U.S. Top Ten. He began recording long-playing records for Decca and its London subsidiary in 1954, and although the change-over of popular music to rock 'n roll limited his success on the singles chart, his albums sold millions, particularly in the U.S.

Over 40 Mantovani albums registered on the U.S. pop charts from 1955 to 1972, with 27 reaching the Top 40 and 11 scaling the heights into the Top Ten. His biggest hits were linked to the movies: "Film Encores," which went #1 in 1957 (his sole chart-topping LP), and "Mantovani Plays Music From 'Exodus' and Other Great Themes," a #2 hit in 1961. The "Exodus" LP moved over 1 million copies and remained on the charts for almost a year.

As the 1960s wore on, Mantovani's brand of pleasant, easy listening music increasingly diverged from mainstream tastes (and began to be seen as old-fashioned, something that belonged to the pre-rock 1950s along with round-screened, B+W TV sets). HIs LPs placed lower and lower on the charts, until they no longer charted at all after 1972's eponymous "Annunzio Paolo Mantovani." When the Decca label was dissolved and absorbed into MCA in 1973, his recording career came to an end. In all, he had recorded over 50 albums of his distinct brand of light orchestral music since the early 1950s.

Annunzio Paolo Mantovani died on March 30, 1980 at his country home in Tunbridge Wells, England. He was 74 years old.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Jon C. Hopwood

Spouse (1)

Winifred Kathleen Moss (4 August 1934 - 27 October 1977) ( her death) ( 2 children)

Trade Mark (2)

Lush, "cascading strings" arrangements
Theme song: "Charmaine"

Trivia (4)

One of the most famous "easy listening" arranger-conductors, he recorded many albums for London/Decca from the late 1940's to the late 1960's. His extremely lush high string arrangements were his trademark.
Alhough born in Italy, he spent most of his life in England, where his father was concertmaster at Covent Garden for many years.
One of the most popular artists during the "Golden Age of Mood Music," more than two decades of best-selling albums on Decca/London included "Charmaine" (also his theme song), "Film Encores," "Continental Encores," "Strauss Waltzes," "Gems Forever," "The Incomparable Mantovani," "Mr. Music," "Mantovani Magic," "Italia Mia," "Mantovani Memories," "In Concert," and, perhaps inevitably, "Mantovani's Golden Hits."
He was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Recording at 1708 Vine Street in Hollywood, California.

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