Cremona Musica has interviewed one of the protagonists of next edition: Paolo Fazioli, founder and president of the company Fazioli Pianoforti. Fazioli Pianoforti Spa, headquartered in Sacile, was founded in 1981. It produces about 130 grand pianos every year, 90% of which are generally sold abroad: in Europe, Northern America, China, Russia, Far East, South America and in the emerging countries. Recently appointed Cavaliere del Lavoro (Knight of Labour) by the President of the Italian Republic, Paolo Fazioli is both pianist and engineer. His story is a story of success expressing the best of Italian excellence in the world.
You are the founder of the company Fazioli Pianoforti Spa. How did you came up with the idea of manufacturing pianos?
My great interest in piano construction dates back to my musical studies. Since I first put my hands on a piano, I’ve felt a deep curiosity to understand how such a complex and fascinating instrument was made. Along with the development of my critical sense, I realized to be more and more demanding as to the pianos I got in touch with as I was never entirely satisfied neither from a mechanical nor from a musical point of view. Then, after my graduation in engineering and my first managing experience in our family business, the dream of manufacturing a new piano really became my “obsession” and the desire to dedicate myself full-time to this activity finally prevailed on any other career possibility.
It is quite impressing to remark that in a few decades, Fazioli has become a leading company for the sector, thus competing with historical brands. What are in your opinion the major features that brought Fazioli pianos to be considered as the best pianos in the world?
Since the beginning, we have drawn the attention of piano experts (pianists, technicians, critics and journalists) on high-quality musical instruments. We have given a lot of importance to exhibitions and concerts and this has aroused their curiosity so much that it has become a popular topic of discussion for a sector seeming to be extremely static. A great attention for product improvement is of course a key element that still has a strong influence on every single aspect of our activity.
What are the construction differences between Fazioli pianos and others?
We have never carried out a close and complete examination and it would be quite long to do. Our construction techniques are for sure “ours”. They are the result of a long research aimed at shaping a specific know-how.
Why don’t you manufacture upright pianos?
Dealing with upright pianos would mean very different methods as those defined for our grand pianos. Quantity, construction costs, distribution… all these aspects would need to be tailored on a different product that, to tell the truth, has never been the main focus of our interest.
Can you tell us something about innovative solutions that will be soon adopted in Fazioli pianos?
We have recently patented two important innovations. These are on the one hand our new “three-layer” soundboard with an internal structure that strengthens sound transmission and prevents negative consequences that may come from a too high humidity rate or from a too dry environment, thus ensuring the maximum overall efficiency of the piano over the years; and on the other hand a new mechanical structure especially conceived to be more performing and reactive while being less vulnerable to climatic conditions. At the moment it is used in the grand piano model, but it will soon be applied to all our products.
Fazioli pianos have recently triumphed in piano competitions such as the Rubinstein Competition in Tel Aviv, in which both the first and the second place winners performed on a Fazioli piano. Why do many pianists prefer your instruments?
Young musicians with no particular habits and who are ready to explore new music horizons think that our pianos can provide a broader range of musical shades. As a consequence, young musicians endowed with a greater musicality can better express their musical thoughts.
Have you ever thought about manufacturing special piano models for humid and tropical weather?
More than special models for humid and tropical weather, we have always focused on the manufacture of very stable pianos that could face any climatic conditions, severe conditions included. A well designed and constructed piano will be able to better stand both humid and dry weather conditions.
How many countries do you reach with your sales network? And as to Italy, where is it possible to buy Fazioli pianos?
We have dealers almost all around the world. In Italy you can find our pianos in Milan, in our Showroom, at “Piano et Forte” in Perugia and at “Ciampi” in Rome.
Fazioli will attend Cremona Musica 2017. What are your expectations as to the Exhibition and what are the potentialities of an exhibit participation in Cremona?
The Cremonese Exhibition as it has been conceived represents much more than a trade show. It is a true crossroads, a precious meeting opportunity for all the cultural operators of the sector and for musicians.
Many world famous artists, from Herbie Hancock to Angela Hewitt, from Daniil Trifonov to Louis Lortie play Fazioli pianos and are really attached to your brand. How do you develop your cooperation with pianists?
We don’t have any list of “Fazioli Artists” as we think (or at least we hope!) that pianists are not traded commodities. Our pianist friends do love our pianos for free choice, not because we have forced them to do so. We don’t ask them anything, but we are happy to warmly welcome them and to help them have excellent and well prepared concert pianos.
Fazioli Concert Hall in Sacile is a centre of excellence as to record production and it also hosts a prestigious concert season. Can you describe the main features of this Hall that many record companies and musicians choose for their recordings?
Fazioli Concert Hall, a concert hall with 250 seats located right next to our company, is equipped with special devices to adjust acoustic so that it can host instrument rehearsals, concerts and recordings. The activity of our concert hall strengthens the continuous and privileged contact of our company with the world most important artists and emerging talents, aspect that is really important to us. Pianists’ interest in using our Concert Hall as recording environment is increasing. The true strength lays in the possibility of finding many fundamental technical aspects all together in a single place. These are: favorable acoustics, a high-level piano, a piano tuner available at all times and a quiet and professional working environment. Artists can work with their own sound engineer or make use of our contacts.
What are the future perspective of pianos? Are you planning to combine technology and electronics in your models?
I think that acoustic piano will continue to exist over the centuries. It will have to face new challenges and develop new strategies to be up to date. Technological and electronic applications will for sure be one of the many aspects subject to innovation. Of course we will use them, but with a particular attention: they won’t be invasive and will be always at the service of culture.
Can you offer some advice to young pianists who are dreaming of becoming great performers?
There is a reality you can’t escape from: this is Talent. Nowadays you can meet many talented pianists. I always suggest to do things on their way without listening too much to talking crickets (as, unfortunately, I am because of my age) because if they want to achieve a particular result, with or without talent, they can find a way… but above all they need to believe in their project.
Interview by Roberto Prosseda