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20.04.2021

“We Are an Original!”

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Fazioli grand pianos are something really special: Their rich sound delights many music stars.

Paolo Fazioli explains why he couldn’t see any alternative to creating a new piano in 1981 – exactly 40 years ago – and why constant research is essential if we want to produce such a fantastic sound. And, by the way, one of these extraordinary grand pianos can be found in the Bank Austria Salon in the Altes Rathaus in Vienna.

Didn’t people tell you that you were crazy because you wanted to create a new piano?

Sure, and it’s true that there were already a lot of good grand pianos on the market. But I didn’t care. I simply had to do it because I love pianos. I also play myself. I just wanted to pursue my own idea.

Photo: Oreste Schaller

Photo: Oreste Schaller

Which idea was that?

It’s about a special sound. People, who play our pianos, are constantly confirming that our sound is unique. It’s very richly coloured. Rather than being a copy of any other instrument, we are an original. But, strictly speaking, you must talk to the pianists. They’re all completely happy.

Interesting sound experiences

You also have a research department. What goes on there?

Pianos were previously invariably built on the basis of experience. These traditions go back hundreds of years. But no one looks at the scientific side. Of course this isn’t easy, but we want to use modern techniques as a way of arriving at interesting sound experiences. We try new materials, examine the tiniest details and research the underlying structure of a piano.

Photo: Oreste Schaller

There are also pianos on your website that look completely crazy and futuristic.

Yes, those are special projects. We asked famous architects to design their vision of a piano.

You’re based in Italy. Do you also use local products?

Our home is Sacile, around 60 kilometres northeast of Venice. When I look out of the window I can see the mountains. We use wood from this region, which has the best quality that you can find. Our soundboards are made from spruce from the Fiemme Valley, where the legendary violinmaker Antonio Stradivari sourced his material.

Photo: Oreste Schaller

Photo: Oreste Schaller

Great word of mouth

Many stars love your pianos. How did this come about?

Of course, no one knew us to begin with. We simply spoke to a few pianists. And then the word spread quickly. We have excellent word of mouth. Many people contact us today because they’ve heard how good our pianos are. This is a form of marketing that we didn’t even plan. It just happened. The jazz musician Herbie Hancock plays on our instruments, as do the Canadian pianist Angela Hewitt and the young Russian pianist and composer Daniil Trifonov. But so does Benny Andersson from the Swedish group ABBA. These are our ambassadors.

What are your plans for the future?

We simply want to keep researching in order to continually improve our instruments. We’ll also have to grow a little. We have more requests than we can possibly deliver. But, for us, quality rather than quantity remains the key. We don’t make a mass product. Every piano is unique. We can’t produce more than 140 each year. If we aim for 160, that’s already a lot for us. We now have 50 people working here.

Virtual box

Has Corona changed anything?

The pandemic has also been difficult for music. Music is suffering because no one can perform. We’re happy that we’re still able to produce and to deliver pianos all around the world. We’ve set up a “virtual box”, in which we collect videos sent in by the international community of Fazioli clients. Here you can see videos from both professional and amateur musicians.

But the crisis has also confirmed to us that we’re on the right path: environmentally-friendly production, limited volumes, manufacture by hand. We believe in a good future.