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The sound of Italian pianos
Rome - (Ign) - The first question springs naturally to mind and almost seems obvious: how did you come up with the idea? "Passion, just passion. I'm an engineer and I have a piano diploma from the conservatory. I could have either become a pianist, or started to build pianos. I chose the second path, combining my knowledge with my passion". Paolo Fazioli, 60, who was born in Rome but grew up in Friuli, thus became not only Italy's only producer of grand pianos, but also one of the most famous in the world, with his brand now placed alongside the classic names from Germany and Austria. Paolo Fazioli's extraordinary intellectual and entrepreneurial adventure began in the late 1970s, when he brought together a small team of friends with an extremely ambitious aim: to design a new generation of pianos. He combined his love for music and in particular for this instrument, with the scientific expertise of a sound physicist, and brought in master craftsmen specialised in working and seasoning top quality woods, experts in the fusion of heavy alloys, pianists and composers.
Isn't this too difficult as market for a small company like yours?
"I've never been worried about the difficulties of the market, but rather how to innovate in a sector where it perhaps seemed that everything had already been said and done. We tried above all to critically analyse the state of the art in the construction of this marvellous instrument. And on the basis of this we created a project, avoiding all imitation of existing products and trying instead to find our own specific, characteristic timbre".
How long was it before you had your first successes?
"Not long. In the space of two years we had produced our first medium-sized prototype, 183 cm long. Then we made other prototypes and drew up the final production plans. In 1981 I established Fazioli Pianoforti srl and we launched our first products".
And what results did you achieve?
"In 1982 we took part in the Musikmesse in Frankfurt, the largest international fair in the sector of musical instruments, and were well received. And in 1987 we set launched our pianos in the USA, with a concert at Carnegie Hall in New York, which received good reviews from the critics".
The New York Times review of the concert was by Harold Schoenberg, considered the harshest and most influential American music critic, who wrote "this new Italian instrument produces an entirely new and highly interesting sound".
"This was exactly what I had been looking for: I didn't want to build a piano like the rest, however excellent they may be. I wanted to create something new. And I think I succeeded".
So much that Fazioli pianos have now been adopted by artists of the calibre of Aldo Ciccolini, Alfred Brendel, Martha Argerich and Murray Perahia. That's a pretty impressive clientele, don't you think?
"Of course, and I'm extremely proud of the fact. But our pianos are now played all over the world, in large numbers".
How many do you make?
"In the new premises we have just opened we can produce as many as 150 instruments a year, and thus keep up with demand".
How many have you made so far, and who have you sold them to?
"Around 1400 in total. Most of them are in Germany and the United States. We export nearly all our instruments, and in coming years we are planning to move onto the more difficult markets, such as Asia".
How much does a Fazioli piano cost?
"We only produce grand pianos, for professionals, and their lengths range from quarter-length at 156 centimetres to a grand concert piano at 308 cm. They cost between âŹ50,000 and âŹ100,000 each, placing them at the top end of the international market".
Do you have any secret desires?
"I want to carry on building new generations of musical instruments. This is a field where the possibilities for innovation are endless".
Fazioli Pianoforti Srl
via Ronche, 47
33077 Sacile (Pn)
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