Virgilio Savona

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File:Virgilio Savona 1950s.jpg
Virgilio Savona in the 1950s

Antonio Virgilio Savona (21 December 1919 – 27 August 2009) was an Italian composer, arranger, and singer in the Italian vocal group, the Quartetto Cetra.[1]


Savona was born at Palermo, Italy. His artistic career had a very early start. In 1926, aged 6, he began studying music. Two years later he joined a choir and at the age of 10 he debuted in a radio broadcast playing a piece on a piano during a children's program.

After high-school, Savona enrolled at the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome to study piano.

In 1941 he replaced Iacopo Jacomelli in a vocal quartet called Quartetto Egie. The group changed name to Quartetto Ritmo at first, then to Quartetto Cetra one year later.

On 19 August 1944 Virgilio Savona married the singer Lucia Mannucci, who later joined Quartetto Cetra to replace Enrico De Angelis who left the group in 1947.

Besides singing, Savona was the group's composer and arranger. He wrote the music while Tata Giacobetti, also a member of the quartet, wrote the lyrics. They worked together for four decades and produced hundreds of songs which made up Quartetto Cetra's vast repertoire.

Savona also composed music and wrote scripts for radio and TV programs, stage shows and films. During the 1970s he was active as pianist, orchestra conductor, arranger and producer. He also made extensive research on folk songs. In 1971 he wrote Angela, a song for Angela Davis, afroamerican communist leader, innocent in prison at this time. In 70s he published also other controversial songs, as Il testamento del parroco Meslier ("The Testament of Parson Meslier"), a violent attack on power and religion, based on the Testament of the priest and illuminist atheist philosopher Jean Meslier.

In 1991 he wrote a popup book about Quartetto Cetra, published by Sperling & Kupfer in the Supersound collection.

He died in Milan in 2009 from complications of Parkinson's disease.


  1. Mario Luzzatto Fegiz, Corriere della Sera (29 August 2009). Addio a Virgilio Savona, ideologo del Quartetto Cetra. Retrieved 13 December 2012.