SIMONE FERNANDO SACCONI (1895-1973)
The son of a violinist, as a youngster, he takes great interest in the art of violin making.
At the age of 8, in Rome, he is already a very young apprentice in the workshop of the Venetian violin maker Giuseppe Rossi and at 13 he has the opportunity to examine for the first time a Stradivari violin (Berthier 1716), owned by the Hungarian violinist Ferenc Vecsey. He studies at the Academy of Fine Arts and fights in World War 1. Upon his return from the war, he begins to spend time with the elderly violin maker Giuseppe Fiorini,
who had purchased the vast collection belonging to Stradivari including the incredible artifacts found in the workshop and officially begins working for him. He thus comes into contact with Stradivari’s patterns and shapes used to make violins, which enable him to replicate certain instruments so admirably and also to repair the Piatti cello of 1720.
In 1925 he weds Teresina Pacini, a singer, and this allows him to meet the greatest violinists and cellists of the twentieth century, who became his clients and also comes into contact with great composers such as Richard Strauss, Claude Debussy, Riccardo Zandonai, Ottorino Respighi, Alfredo Casella, Pietro Mascagni and Ildebrando Pizzetti.
In 1931 his work takes him to New York and there he has the opportunity to study precious antique instruments and to deepen his restoration techniques.
In the meantime, in 1930, all the materials once belonging to Stradivari and now in the hands of Giuseppe Fiorini, on which Sacconi had based his studies and his experience, have been donated by the elderly violin maker to the Musei Civici of Cremona, on the condition that this collection be exhibited to the public with the intent of creating a violin making school directed by him.
The 1937 Stradivarian Celebrations of Cremona, unfortunately after the death of Fiorini in 1934, create the conditions for Fiorini’s desire to create in Cremona the first violin making school and also to induce Sacconi to return to Italy once more, even if just to attend this event.
From this point forward, Sacconi’s life is divided between his thriving and very productive activities in the United States and his continuous trips to Cremona to organize the Museum containing Stradivari’s artifacts and to pursue his own teaching, making him one of the most knowledgeable scholars of the art of violin making and certainly the greatest expert of violin making’s greatest exponent, Antonio Stradivari. It is thanks to Sacconi that in 1961 Alfredo Puerari, President of the Provincial Tourism Office and Director of the Museo Civico, purchases at Hill, Stradivari’s first violin (ex Joachim), by then named Il Cremonese 1715 and he donates it to the city, thus initiating the creation of one of the greatest collections of bowed stringed instruments (presently housed and exhibited in the Museo del Violino in Cremona).
Until the year 1973, the year of his death, Sacconi, universally recognized as one of the greatest violin makers of all time, handles and restores hundreds of violins of the man who has inspired his life-work and disseminates his techniques and methods among the professionals of the time, also through the publication in 1972 of the precious book ” The Secrets of Stradivari” that greatly contributed to the increase of the quality of the art of violin making around the world and to the emergence of Cremonese violin making above all. One of his violins from 1941, is preserved in the section dedicated to violin makers who are representative of Cremona from the period of the eighteenth century in the Museo del Violino of Cremona. For the construction of this wonderful work, he took his inspiration from the highly decorative instruments created by Stradivari and in particular to the 1679 Hellier violin.”