High-end Italian piano sold into Victoria area

Final location of Fazioli instrument kept under wraps

Fazioli Pianoforti founder Paolo Fazioli

A rare object made its way to Vancouver Island last week.

The large, long, shiny-black behemoth filled the library of an Uplands home. And when Daniel Chow sat and placed his hands on it? It sang.

“I believe that music comes from the heart. A good pianist can make a cheap piano sound good and a bad pianist can make a good piano sound awful,” said Chow, a Vancouver concert pianist who took part in a media event last week.

“The Fazioli makes things easier. I can be more imaginative, more creative with my technical ability.”

The instrument is the first of its kind to be delivered to Vancouver Island. The rare, six-foot grand piano, valued at $110,000, was delivered by its builder, Paulo Fazioli.

Last week’s staged demonstration wasn’t held at the permanent home of the piano. The couple who bought the handmade instrument apparently live nearby, but chose not to be identified.

Nonetheless, the arrival of the piano in Oak Bay was no less of an event, especially with the presence of Fazioli himself.

Born to a furniture-making family in Italy, Fazioli turned his talents to piano-making more than 30 years ago and made a name building the instruments by hand. His company creates as few as 100 pianos a year in a small factory just north of Venice.

“Each one takes about 1,000 hours of highly specialized hand-work to make,” said Manuel Bernaschek, owner of Showcase Pianos in Vancouver, which sold the piano to the Greater Victoria couple.

Fazioli grands include more than 10,000 parts, some plated in 18-karat gold. “Each key alone has 60 parts,” Bernaschek said. The pianos also include a soundboard made of unique wood, from the same forest in which Stradivarius found wood for his violins, he added.

Devotees of this exclusive brand include jazz legend Herbie Hancock, and the world’s leading interpreter of Bach music, Angela Hewitt.

Chow, clearly, is also a fan.

“It’s quite stunning. A very beautiful work of art. The sound is very clear, almost like a laser beam cutting through the air,” he said.

He played Volodos’ transcription for Mozart’s “Turkish March” to a hushed room.

“When I read about how (Fazioli) had a dream to build the best piano in the world, I thought that was great. He was really shooting for the stars.”

llavin@vicnews.com

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