Pietro Mascagni was born in Leghorn, Italy, December 7, 1863.
He studied secretly with Soffredini, and afterward became a pupil at the Milan Conservatory under Ponchielli and Saladino.
He conducted the orchestra in various minor troupes, meanwhile teaching and composing several fairly successful works.
When Sonzogno, the Milan music publisher, offered prizes for one-act operas, Mascagni wrote and submitted his “Cavalleria Rusticana” (1890), which won for him the first prize, and upon its first presentation made him famous. Its success throughout the world brought him a reputation that only a work of equal merit could have maintained. Such a work he ahs not thus far succeeded in producing, his “L’Amico Fritz” (1891), “I Rantzau” (1892), “Guglielmo Ratcliff”, “Zanetto” (1896), “Iris” (1898), and other compositions, in various styles, suffering by comparison with the standard he himself has established.
In 1895 he became director of the Rossin Conservatory at Pesaro. After several European tours, in 1902 he brought his own troupe to American, but various unfortunate circumstances contributed to make his visit to the New World a disappointment.