While Bill Conti may forever be associated with the rousing, infectious music he composed for the series of "Rocky" films, he has also proved the scores for countless TV programs and films. As a child in Rhode Island, he learned to play the piano from his father. By the time the family relocated to Miami, Conti was the front man for his own jazz band. After receiving degrees in music from Louisiana State and Juilliard, he moved to Italy to study opera composition. During his stay in Rome, he began to provide music for films such as "Candidate per un Assassino/Candidate for a Killing". At the 1971 Venice Film Festival, Conti met director Paul Mazursky who hired the musician to supervise the score of "Blume in Love" (1973). The two collaborated further on "Harry and Tonto" (1974) and "Next Stop, Greenwich Village" (1975). But it was his music for the Oscar-winning sleeper hit "Rocky" (1976), especially the Academy Award-nominated theme "Gonna Fly Now", that established Conti as an in-demand composer. He went on to score several films directed and/or starring Sylvester Stallone (including the "Rocky" sequels) as well as several for "Rocky" director John G Avildsen (most notably "The Karate Kid" films).