Daniele Canu, a violin maker in Pesaro

Green Violinist (Violiniste), 1923–24. Marc Chagall. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York

I could never give up my weekly meeting at Daniele Canu’s workshop in Pesaro where our musical ensemble gather – on Thursdays – to play together.

It’s an odd group indeed: two first violins, two second violins, one cello and one basso continuo, no viola. By the way, does anyone who plays the viola feel like joining in?

Right now, we are specializing in murdering: Vivaldi, Charpentier, Rameau, and enthusiastically doing so.

I shouldn’t be talking like that though because our mission, so to speak, is that of taking Music out of the Official Temples for the (so-called) Elected Few, witnessing that even if you haven’t graduated from the Music Conservatory, and even if your are no longer in your “teens”, you can still play and enjoy doing music together.

The soul of our group is the violin-maker Daniele Canu who generously lets us play in his workshop. His workshop: a magic box. I love the smell of wood and glue, and I love to play surrounded by violins, cellos, guitars who vibrate along with us.

On one of the walls two myths – so far and yet so physically close to one another – look upon us with benevolence: a picture of Paganini and one of Stan and Laurel playing the violin, as a reminder that yes, we  should try to reach perfection but nonetheless never shall we take ourselves, and life, too seriously.

Here’s a brief note on my friend Daniele and the wonderful tradition of violin making that he is carrying on.

The sound of Bologna

When the violin-maker Raffaele Fiorini (1828-1898) opened his workshop in Bologna in 1868, he started the most important and unbroken Italian tradition of violin-making, since the end of the 19th century up to today. For almost 150 years, great violin-makers Maestri learn and work in this city, among which:

Augusto Pollastri (1877-1927), Giuseppe Fiorini (1861-1934), Cesare Candi (1869-1947), Armando Monterumici (1875-1936), Carlo Carletti (1873-1941), Gaetano Pollastri (1886-1960), Ansaldo Poggi (1893-1984), Otello Bignami (1914-1989).

This illustrious tradition continues today with the violin-maker Maestro Daniele Canu, who was pupil of Maestro O. Bignami for four years (1979-1983).

After a brief experience within the “Consorzio Liutai Bolognesi” (the “Bologna Association of Violin-makers”), Maestro Daniele Canu opened his own workshop in Bologna in 1985. In 1988 he took part in the 10th Italian Contest for Young Violin-makers winning the third prize.

A long-time member of the “Associazione Liutaria Italiana” (A.L.I.) – the “Italian Association of Violin-makers” – he is founder of the “Gruppo Liuteria Bolognese” (G.I.B.) – the “Bologna Group of Violin-makers”.

Upon invitation by several violin-players he moved to Pesaro, the city of Gioachino Rossini, where he has the pleasure of working since 1999, near the Music Conservatory named after the composer.

His preference goes to making instruments according to the models of great Bologna Maestroes (A. Pollastri, O. Bignami and A. Poggi). He also gladly makes violins according to the “Cannone” model by Guarnieri del Gesù.

The soft paint which allows instruments to vibrate freely has the red tones of sandal wood and of dragon blood on a golden bottom.

Italian, German, American, Taiwanese and Japanese professional musicians play instruments by Maestro Daniele Canu.

Daniele Canu, via Nicola Sabbatini 13, 61121 Pesaro, phone +39 721 32273.

5 comments

  1. Ciao Simona, I’m one of your collegue-murderer that wait every Thursdays to meet at Daniele’s “laboratorio” and I agree with you about what you think about music.

    Sometime we make mistakes while playing, but the hours that we spend together are full of friendship and joy… It’s what I like more of italian behaviour: the problems of life (everybody have some…) are left outside our mind and souls when we are with good friends, good music…. and good food (sometime it happens also that, isn’t it?)

    From this page I want to thank Daniele for the great opportunity he gave us to share our skills and I invite readers of this blog that want to have an unforgettable experience to visit his workshop… and ask Simona to be a guide in the wonderful city of Gioachino Rossini… She wont’ deny, I am sure!

    • Dear Alessandro,

      thank you for leaving a comment on my blog, and for your words about frienship, music and… good food (I think Walter will be delighted!).

      I too wish to thank Daniele again for – as you say – “the great opportunity he gave us to share our skills” and, last but not least, YES I would be very glad to show anyone around in Pesaro starting from Daniele’ wonderful workshop.

      See you on Thursday, my music stand companion 🙂

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