After many minor cinematic collaborations, Morricone achieved wider recognition with Sergio Leone's series of four Westerns. There followed important collaborations with directors such as Bernardo Bertolucci, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Elio Petri, Paolo and Vittorio Taviani, Valerio Zurlini, Roland Joffè and Brian De Palma. Despite inevitable self-repetitions over a total of more than 400 film scores, his work provides many examples of a highly original fusion of classical and popular idioms.
Morricone's non-film works form a large and increasingly widely performed part of his output. Many of them use his technique of ‘micro-cells’, a pseudo-serial approach often incorporating modal and tonal allusions, which, with its extreme reduction of compositional materials, has much in common with his film-music techniques.
Among honours, he has received five Academy Award nominations, a Grammy and a Leone d'oro, and was awarded the Laurea ad Honorem by the University of Cagliari. Between 1991 and 1996 he taught film music at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana, Siena.