Maestro Piccioni made his radio debut at 17 with his 013 Big Band in 1938, but only returned on air after the liberation of Italy in 1944. His 013 was the first Italian jazz band to be broadcast in Italy after the fall of fascism.
He was deeply influenced in his use of jazz by 20th century classical composers and American cinematography. Amongst his favourites were Frank Capra, Alfred Hitchcock, Billy Wilder, John Ford and Alex North. He began writing songs of his own and was soon able to get some of his works published by Carisch editions.
Piero Piccioni came into contact with the movie world in Rome during the fifties, when he was a practicing lawyer securing movie rights for Italian distributors such as Titanus and De Laurentiis. During that time, Michelangelo Antonioni had called Piero to score a documentary film directed by Luigi Polidoro, one of his apprentices.
Piccioni’s first score for a feature film was Gianni Franciolini’s Il mondo le condanna (1952). He consequently changed his lawyer's "toga" for a conductor's baton. He developed close-knit working relationships with directors Francesco Rosi and Alberto Sordi, and established strong personal and professional bonds with them.
Many directors sought Piero Piccioni to score the soundtracks for their films: Francesco Rosi, Mario Monicelli, Alberto Lattuada, Luigi Comencini, Luchino Visconti, Antonio Pietrangeli, Bernardo Bertolucci, Roberto Rossellini, Vittorio De Sica, Tinto Brass, Dino Risi, and others.
Also bearing his name are The Scientific Cardplayer, Swept Away, Tutto a posto niente in ordine by Lina Wertmuller, Il bell'Antonio by Mauro Bolognini, The Tenth Victim by Elio Petri. He is credited with works for more than 300 soundtracks and compositions for films, radio, television, ballets and orchestra. Among his favorite vocalists were female soul singer Shawn Robinson and Edinburgh born Lydia MacDonald. His song "Traffic Boom" was featured as the song for the fictional Logjammin' movie-within-a-movie in The Big Lebowski.
Awards and legacy
1963 - Nastro d’argento Award for the movie Salvatore Giuliano by Francesco Rosi
1975 - David di Donatello Award for the movie Swept Away