Fazioli, the Italian piano manufacturer known worldwide for its instruments of exceptional quality, is celebrating its 40th year. And to mark the occasion a beautiful new book Fazioli Grand Pianos: From the Dream to the Sound has just been published.
Fazioli ranks amongst (some say ranks above) the world’s great piano makers. Yet the company was established just 40 years ago.
Compare established dates…
Bösendorfer (est.1828, Vienna, Austria)
Grotrian Steinweg (est.1835, Seesen, Germany)
Steingraeber & Söhne (est.1852,Bayreuth, Germany)
Bechstein (est.1853, Berlin, Germany)
Blüthner (est.1853, Leipzig, Germany)
Steinway & Sons (est.1853, New York, USA)
Mason and Hamlin (est.1854, Massachusetts, USA)
Schimmel (est.1855, Leipzig, Germany)
Petrof (est.1864, Hradec Králové, Czech Republic)
Yamaha (est.1887, Hamamatsu, Japan)
Kawai (est.1927, Hamamatsu, Japan)
Pearl River Piano Group (est.1956, Guangzhou, China)
Fazioli (est.1981, Sacile, Italy)
Stuart & Sons (est.1990 New South Wales, Australia).
Founder Paolo Fazioli was born (1944) into a family of furniture makers. He graduated from university in 1969 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. In 1971 he was awarded a degree in Piano Performance, and subsequently earned a Master’s in Music Composition. He worked briefly in the family business, but really just wanted to build pianos — the best pianos in the world!
Key to fulfilling his dream was Fazioli’s meeting with Pietro Righini – the leading Italian academic in the physics of musical instruments. Fazioli wanted to use the latest technology to innovate the design and construction processes. Once convinced of his commitment Righini’s advice and scientific contacts were invaluable in the formulation of Fazioli’s ideas.
You do realise that you want to enter a field where there are sacred monsters who have dominated the market for two centuries?Pietro Righini, Director Istituto Elettrotecico Nazionale Galileo Ferraris (ISTC). Quote from “Fazioli Grand Pianos”
Italy, although renowned for its craftsmanship and design especially in the furniture industry was not recognised as a great piano manufacturer. In fact, as far back as the 1930s, it was reported that 90% of Italian manufacturers were giving German-sounding names to their pianos. A practice known as “fantasy trademarking”.
Keen, however, to proceed with his implementations of modern technological advances, Fazioli built his first instrument, a baby grand, in 1979. This was to evolve into the F183. He also prototyped the F156 and the larger F278. Such was the success of his designs that he decided to set up his own manufacturing company Fazioli Pianoforti s.p.a. in 1981.
By 1982 Fazioli Pianoforti had four models in its catalogue – F156, F183, F228, F278, and the exceptional quality of the instruments soon attracted a host of important professional customers.
Fazioli F308 — the flagship
In 1987 the prototype F308 Concert Grand was unveiled. At 308 cm (10ft 1in), it was then the longest commercially available grand piano. Designed for larger concert halls, its power and harmonic richness have made it a landmark instrument.
Amongst Fazioli’s innovations is the F308’s “fourth pedal” – it doesn’t have a name! Its purpose is to move the hammers closer to the strings. This reduces the volume without, importantly, affecting the timbre. It also makes certain other performance techniques (e.g. glissando) somewhat easier. Originally, the F308’s massive lid was split into three sections, enabling the projection of the sound to be modified. This is no longer a feature of the current model F308.
As well as producing some of the best grand pianos in the world, Fazioli is also at the forefront of creating unique “special models”, including such instruments as the M. Liminal, the Marco Polo, and the Kengo Kuma grands.
At the age of 77 Paolo Fazioli is still actively involved, and the company produces 100-200 grand pianos a year with a staff of around 50.
From the Dream to the Sound
Celebrating Fazioli’s achievements, Fazioli Grand Pianos: From the Dream to the Sound is a fascinating new large-format book written by music critic Sandro Cappelletto. The work is split into five main sections…
• The Beginnings
• The Interview
• Special Creations
…and a Preface specially written by Herbie Hancock.
We start by learning how the company was born and of one man’s passion to produce the best piano in the world. Cappelletto then takes us on a journey through the pianomaker’s factory in the company of Paolo Fazioli. The pair discuss the various aspects of the piano’s construction.
The growth of the brand is then examined with reference to early designs and collaborations with important industry figures and musicians.
The focus then moves to the special one-off/limited edition instruments Fazioli has produced over the years. And finally, virtuoso pianists Maurizio Baglini and Angela Hewitt discuss why the Fazioli piano is so important in their lives.
The book is highly visual. It contains a treasure trove of images featuring pianos (of course), pianists, venues, the factory and the construction process, letters of commendation, inscriptions, concert programmes, and much more. The text, albeit fairly concise, is tremendously readable and packed full of information. Much takes a “question and answer” format.
If you own a Fazioli piano you will want this book, and if you don’t then there is still lots here for you to enjoy.
UPDATE 13-Dec-2022: The film From the Dream to the Sound was released in 2022.
- Title: Fazioli Grand Pianos: From the Dream to the Sound
- Author: Sandro Cappelletto
- Preface: Herbie Hancock
- Publication Date: 8-Jun-2021 (Italian edition). 5-Oct-2021 (English edition)
- Format: Hardcover
- Trim Size: 9-1/2in x 12-1/2in
- Pages: 192
- Category: Music – Musical Instruments – Piano & Keyboard
- Publisher: Rizzoli Books
- Price: $70.00, 70.00€, £52.50
- ISBN: 978-88-918319-3-4
- more information.