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Renzo Massarani

Biographical information

TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameRenzo•Massarani
Used nameRenzo•Massarani
Born26 March 1898 in Mantova, Mantova (ITA)
Died28 March 1975 in Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro (BRA)
NOC Italy


Italian musician Renzo Massarani, a volunteer in World War I, studied and graduated under Ottorino Respighi and continued to follow his stylistic guidelines. In the early 1920s, he was one of the members of the group “I Tre”. He became musical director of the marionette theater “Teatro dei Piccoli”, for which he wrote some of his most successful works. With the theater, he made numerous tours including one in South America. He also worked as a music critic and was later employed by the Italian Society of Authors and Publishers (SIAE). In 1934, he wrote Squilli e danze per il “18 B.L.” for a mass spectacle commemorating the march on Roma held near Firenze. Closely related to this work was his 1936 entry Squilli e danze atletiche (Rings and athletic dances). A contemporary clipping even seems to indicate that they are actually identical, and perhaps the title was changed to make it more sports related. The decade from 1928-38 was his most prolific period, when he wrote orchestral, chamber and instrumental works. His music was firmly linked to the Italian tradition, especially in piano repertoire and chamber songs.

Massarani was of Jewish descent and was banned during the fascist dictatorship of Benito Mussolini, although he had participated in the March on Roma in 1922 and was considered representative of fascist ideology. On one hand, he defended avant-garde composers like Stravinsky after the International Music Festival in Roma; on the other hand, he organized the exhibition of the Fascist Musicians’ Union in 1933. Until 1938, when the race laws were also implemented in Italy, his compositions were heard at all major artistic events, but much of his work was later destroyed.

In 1939, Massarani was forced to immigrate to Brazil and was awarded citizenship there in 1945. In Brazil, he mainly worked as an orchestrator and music critic. He then did all he could to insure that his pre-war works would never be played, forbade their reproduction and performance, and made it extremely difficult to find them.


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1936 Summer Olympics Art Competitions ITA Renzo Massarani
Music, Compositions For Orchestra, Open (Olympic) AC