Fazioli Piano History: The Early Years
The Fazioli Piano Company, or Fazioli Pianoforti, is a relatively new appearance on the market. Even though the company was founded in 1978, by that time, other piano brands were already well-established on the market and selling hundreds of pianos each year.
How did Fazioli Pianoforti manage to become a successful business that manufactures some of the most exclusive pianos, even though they were relatively late to the game? The answer is tied to Paolo Fazioli’s trajectory in life, and the dream he had ever since he was young.
The Engineer and the Pianist (1944-1977)
In 1944, Paolo Fazioli was born in Rome, Italy to a family of furniture makers. From an early age, he showed promise for music and demonstrated a keen interest in the piano, so his parents enrolled him in lessons. He continued his piano studies through his college and university years; he also developed an interest in building pianos by visiting manufacturing and restoration workshops and reading about the subject in international literature.
After graduating from the University of Rome with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, Paolo Fazioli was accepted to study at the G. Rossini Conservatory in Pesaro under Maestro Sergio Cafaro and received a degree in piano performance.Paolo simultaneously earned a master’s degree in music composition at St. Cecilia Academy after studying with composer Boris Porena.
In the meantime, Paolo’s elder brothers took over the family business and expanded it, exporting their furniture to countries around the world under a brand name called MIM (Mobili Italiani Moderni). The new factory they built in Turin specialized in metal furniture, while the old factory in Sacile still manufactured wooden furniture from exotic woods such as teak, mahogany, and rosewood.
A Dream Inside a Furniture Factory
After graduation, Paolo returned home to help his brothers with the two furniture factories, but did not give up on his dream of building the best pianos in the world.
He began by spending his time researching contemporary grand piano production—analyzing their structure and performance. He consulted with experts in the field to learn more about it while he studied everything there was to know.
Paolo’s family was hugely supportive and his brother, Virgilio (an expert in wood technology), provided him with all the information he needed to carry out his research, development, and production.
During this phase, Paolo’s idea of what the finest pianos should look like became clearer and clearer. By introducing a number of design changes based on the latest research in acoustics and material development, he knew that he would be able to build a piano that would be superior to any other models on the market.
The First Prototypes (1978–1981)
The end of the 1970s brought about the establishment of a new business: the Fazioli Piano Company, which was part of the furniture plant in Sacile. The placement of the new Fazioli Factory was ideal for several reasons: materials, research and analysis laboratories, and specialized craftsmen were all easily accessible.
Now, engineer and pianist Paolo Fazioli had a perfect space to start working on the concert grand pianos he had been dreaming of and planning for so long. Assisted by a small team—consisting of Professor Pietro Righini, Professor Guglielmo Giordano, Virgilio Fazioli, and Lino Tiveron—Paolo started designing the first prototype for a baby grand piano (the F183) in 1979.
The prototype was completed the following year, and was quickly followed by the prototypes of two other models, the F156 (another baby grand piano) and the F278 (a concert grand piano).
For All the World to See
All three prototypes of the Fazioli pianos were presented to the press and trade professionals at the beginning of 1981, during a press conference attended by famous musicologist Piero Rattalino, as well as professors Giordano and Righini who helped Paolo Fazioli with the F183 prototype.
Later that year, the same Fazioli pianos were displayed at the Frankfurt Musikmesse—the leading European fair for the music industry—and Paolo started working on a fourth prototype, this time for the F228 model. Also during 1981, pianist Nikita Magalof visited the Fazioli Pianiforti and played the F278 concert grand piano in a concert hall.
Fine Tuning (1982–1986)
In 1982, Fazioli Pianoforti made another appearance at the Frankfurt Musikmesse fair, this time showcasing four Fazioli pianos.
During the same year, the area inside the MIM factory in Sacile, which was dedicated to manufacturing pianos, increased to 600 square meters. Because of this expansion, they were now able to produce two pianos each month. In 1983, Paolo started working with Zeltron (Zanussi Institute for Research) to study and further improve the tonal quality of Fazioli pianos.
Reaping the Results
This collaboration was a turning point for the Fazioli Pianiforti company; the quality of the sound that the piano produced made a number of professional pianists start playing Fazioli pianos. These included the likes of Aldo Ciccolini, Alfred Brendel, Martha Argerich, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Lazar Berman, Nikita Magaloff, Michel Beroff, Annie Fischer, Louis Lortie, and many others.
The year 1983 was also when the company started exporting Fazioli pianos to both Europe and the United States, with a number of important concert halls and prestigious theaters purchasing the F278 concert grand pianos.
A New Player Enters the Stage
Even after the resounding success of the first four models of Fazioli pianos, Paolo did not stop researching the market. He found that pianists were demanding a piano with greater power and richness of tone—one that would be suitable for a large concert hall. And that’s how the F308 was born. To this day, it is still the longest piano in production, which gives it a unique sound and—together with the implementation of the fourth pedal—makes it one of the finest pianos in the world.
Work also began on the F212 model: Now, Fazioli Pianoforti is manufacturing a total of six piano models. The six different sizes mean there is a Fazioli piano for every space, no matter how big or small, and for any pianist, no matter how experienced.
If you are looking at one of the six piano models made by Fazioli Pianoforti, you can rest assured that you will buy one of the best pianos in the world—regardless of which size you choose.
Contact us at Ellis Piano to learn more about Fazioli pianos, and how to purchase your own!