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Paulo Emilio Vanzolini (Portuguese pronunciation: ['pawlu e'miliu vzo'lini]; April 25, 1924 - April 28, 2013) was a Brazilian scientist and music composer. He was best known for his samba compositions, including the famous "Ronda", "Volta por Cima", and "Boca da Noite", and for his scientific works in herpetology. He is considered one of the greatest samba composers from São Paulo. Until his death, he still conducted research at the University of São Paulo (USP).
Personal life and academic career
Paulo Vanzolini was born in São Paulo. When he was four years old, his family moved to Rio de Janeiro where he lived for two years. In 1930, he came back to São Paulo where he studied all his life. In 1942, Vanzolini started studying medicine. At this period, he used to go out with friends whole nights and during these nights he composed his first songs.
In 1944, he worked at Rádio América, with his cousin. However, when Vanzolini was drafted into the army, he had to stop his work and studies. Two years later, he restarted the medicine course and became a school teacher and a researcher for the Museu de Zoologia, of the University of São Paulo. In 1947, he graduated in medicine. One year later, he married, and went to the USA where he received his PhD in zoology at Harvard University.
Between 1963 and 1993, Vanzolini served as director of the Museu de Zoologia, becoming a famous zoologist. He was responsible for assembling one of the largest collections of reptiles and a large library about these kinds of animals. Although retired since 1993, the zoologist and musician still had a research affiliation with the Museu de Zoologia of the University of São Paulo until his death.
Paulo Vanzolini composed his first sambas during the years he studied medicine. However, his greatest hits were composed in the 1950s. In 1951, after obtaining his PhD and returning to Brazil, he composed "Ronda", and in 1959 he composed "Volta por cima". These songs were recorded by many Brazilian artists.
In 1969, he composed with Toquinho. The results of this partnership were released in that same year in the album Boca da Noite, by Toquinho. It is worth noting that Toquinho was Vanzolini's only partner during his career as a musician and composer.
In 1981, Vanzolini recorded Por ele mesmo. This is the one and only LP played by himself. Excluding this album, the only way to listen to him singing was at Boate Jogral where he used to play.
In 2003, Vanzolini was honored with the release of the album Acerto de contas. It is a collection of his songs played by the most famous artists of Brazil.
Vanzolini received many honors and distinctions among them
APCA Premium (São Paulo Association of Art Critics Premium), in recognition of his musical work
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