William Galassini

Born: March 19th, 1924, Brisighella (Italy)
Died: June 5th, 1984, Bologna (Italy)
Nationality: Italian

William Galassini hailed from the Emilia-Romagna region in North Eastern Italy. He studied piano in Turin and Bologna. He worked as a pianist in the Orchestra della Canzone of maestro Cinico Angelini; as a member of that ensemble, he accompanied the artists participating in the 1952 Sanremo Festival. In the course of the 1950s, Galassini became a conductor in his own right, leading the Orchestra Milleluci and other bands in performances for national radio and television, accompanying the likes of Gianna Quinti, Giuseppe Negroni, and many more. In 1960, he was signed as an arranger and conductor by record label Fonit-Cetra, for which he had already freelanced in the period before. In the recording studio, he worked with artists such as Tonina Torrielli, Milva, and Fausto Cigliano. Moreover, he recorded a series of instrumental albums for Cetra, ‘Musiche da films’. Later, he left Cetra and became the musical director of the Coro Polifonico in Ravenna.

In 1959, he shared the job of musical director of the Sanremo Festival with Gianni Ferrio, each conducting half of the participating singers with their own orchestras. The winning song was ‘Piove (Ciao ciao bambina)’, sung by Johnny Dorelli (accompanied by Ferrio) and composer Domenico Modugno (who performed his song with Galassini’s ensemble). Subsequently, Modugno was sent to Cannes to be the Italian representative in the Eurovision Song Contest, in which he had secured a third spot for his native country the year before with ‘Nel blu dipinto di blu (Volare)’. In 1959, however, he fared worse, scoring a meagre nine points, resulting in a sixth position. Galassini had travelled to Cannes with Modugno to conduct the orchestra.

In due course, a more extensive biography of William Galassini will be published on this website


Songs conducted
1959: Piove