Ottorino Respighi is descended from a family of prestigious sculptors. He began his musical studies in piano and violin and then attended Giuseppe Martucci's composition class and Federico Sarti's violin class at the Bologna Conservatory (Italy). He played in the orchestra of the Teatro Comunale and worked in Russia as first viola in the orchestra of the Imperial Theater in St. Petersburg for the Italian opera season; it was in that context that he had the opportunity to study, for five months, with Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, with whom he was able to learn in depth the art of orchestral symphony and the symphonic poem. In 1908 he was called to Berlin by the internationally renowned Hungarian soprano Etelka Gerster as an accompanist pianist at her singing school, a position that allowed him to get to know Arthus Nikisch, Ferruccio Busoni, as well as to study composition with Max Bruch. He later devoted himself entirely to composition. Respighi moved to Rome in 1913, where he lived for the rest of his life; he was professor of composition at the Accademia di Santa Cecilia, of which he was also director from 1923 to 1926.