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Castelnuovo-Tedesco was first introduced to the piano by his mother, and he composed his first pieces when he was just 9 years old. After completing a degree in piano in under Edgardo Del Valle de Paz , well-known composer and pianist pupil of Beniamino Cesi, he began studying composition under renowned Italian composer Ildebrando Pizzetti, and received a diploma in composition in Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco soon came to the attention of composer and pianist Alfredo Casella , who included the young composers work in his repertoire.
Works by him were included in the first festival of the International Society of Contemporary Music, held in Salzburg, Austria, in Another major source of inspiration for him was his Jewish heritage, most notably the Bible and Jewish liturgy. His Violin Concerto No. The following year the Italian fascist government developed a program toward the arts, which were viewed as a tool for propaganda and promotion of racial ideas. Even before Mussolini officially adopted the Manifesto of Race in , Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco was banned from the radio and performances of his work were cancelled.
The new racial laws, however, convinced him that he should leave Italy. He wrote to Arturo Toscanini , the former musical director of La Scala, who left Italy in , explaining his plight, and Arturo Toscanini responded by promising to sponsor him as an immigrant in the USA. In the meantime, he wrote his Cello Concerto in G minor, Op.
It was premiered with the dedicatee under Arturo Toscanini in New York in Like many artists who fled fascism, Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco ended up in Hollywood, where, with the help of Jascha Heifetz, he landed a contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer as a film composer. Over the next 15 years, he worked on scores for some films there and at the other major film studios. It is generally thought that he actually composed more film music than he is credited with, and that he was often called upon to ghost-write film music for other composers who were under time constraints or had other difficulties completing their assignments.
His relationship to Hollywood was ambiguous: later in life he attempted to deny the influence that it had on his own work, but he also believed that it was an essentially American artform, much as opera was European. He died in Beverly Hills, California at the age of
Castelnuovo-Tedesco: Sonatina & Giulini: Serenata Op. 127 for Guitar and Flute (Guitar Part)
Castelnuovo-Tedesco: Sonatina & Giulini: Serenata Op. 127
Sonatina, Op.205 (Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Mario)