Giuseppe Chiaraluce (Owner)
Piero Montecchiani (Owner)
Editor: Holda Paoletti-Kampl
Background: 1995 Ci. & Emme. srl trading as Fisitalia Accordions was started by Giuseppe Chiaraluce (Owner) and Piero Montecchiani (Owner).
Q: Giuseppe : What inspired you towards the accordion business and how did you learn industry skills?
A: As a child, I was very small and thin and my parents did not feel like sending me out to WORK …..and so, at the young age of 14 years, I was enrolled at the school CNIPA (a local school organised by the government of the Region Marche) which was a school in part for electronic tuition and accordion manufacturing tuition.
This was a new and interesting school which had a course for 2 years with both practical and theory tuition. Unfortunately this school did not continue for a long time! In the morning, one would study all kinds of subjects, Italian, science etc … not only the accordion, and the other part of the day was training with masters of accordion construction, who collaborated with the accordion factories and had extensive manufacturing experience – who came to teach the students.
In the second year, all the students were inserted in the various accordion factories for practical experience. Students were chosen for their preferences and capabilities, some for the mechanical and/or woodwork part of manufacturing and some for the musical part – such as tuning the reeds. I was selected for tuning – and maybe was selected for tuning, because I was already playing music and the accordion.
The Scottish girl band, Celtic Quines, joined by the legendary accordion player,John Carmichael, performing some Scottish Ceilidh tunes at St Andrews in the Square, Glasgow on 4th October 2012.
Q: Were your parents already working with the accordion?
A: None of my family were working in the accordion business and Piero Montecchiani grew up in the country with his parents and none of his family were ever involved with accordions. Piero had a small instrument and was very keen to learn all about the secrets inside of this SOUNDING piece.
Piero started working at the age of 15 years with the company Kelly producing accordions, where he was in the department mechanics and electronics.
Q: Who was one of your important teachers?
A: Socrate Cippoletti - who was at that time, one of the most well known tuners in Castelfidardo was also working for Borsini and also the personal tuner for the famous accordionist Peppino Principe – chose me to be inserted into the company Borsini and to start with tuning their accordions under his expert tuition.
Q: Have you studied playing the accordion?
A: Yes I studied the accordion, at the age of 11 years with Maestro Vittorio Baleani of Recanati. I also learnt the Euphonium and now, I am trying to pass my passion for the accordion on to my sons Cristian and Nicolas who are starting this year with the music school – Christian Riganelli. Cristian is learning the accordion and the younger boy Nicolas, is learning the Organetto.
Q: So it was a great opportunity for YOU Giuseppe, to be trained and to work with one of the greatest tuners of the region, when you were very young!
A: Yes – it was just a coincidence, …... just like a puzzle …. that ended up, with me finalising my studies with practical experience at the company Borsini at a very young age. At Borsini, I became acquainted with all the different manufacturing processes of an accordion factory and also, was lucky enough, as I became more experienced, to travel with the company management to many different countries visiting their most important customers.
Q: Piero Montecchiani was your colleague while working with Borsini and now you are business partners– right?
A: After the Kelly company closed, Piero changed jobs to continue for 13 years with the accordion manufacturer Borsini. After such a long time learning the profession, Piero and I decided it was time to start a business of our own.
By then, a new period of his life had started. Piero had got married and now had 2 little daughters and a wife, to look after. This was the time to take a big decision. Although many existing accordion companies had difficult economic times around this period, we decided to start a new accordion business with Piero and I as partners. We were confident we could succeed in a new business and had high hopes for a good future.
We started by mainly making custom works for other accordion companies. We would do parts of their production. But due to various reasons (not wanting to depend on contract works) and money pressure, we soon decided to create our own accordion, build that up and concentrate on that work – and that was the beginning of our BRAND FISITALIA.
Today, Fisitalia is a well developed brand and the production of Fisitalia accordions is our main work.
Q: Are your family members collaborating in your business?
A: Piero: Now both our wives are collaborating in the company…. doing various working processes and the wife of Giuseppe - Marcella is doing the tuning on the patented tuning machine invented by Giuseppe.
Flight Of The Bumblebee -Balalaika by Bryats Band. Group Bryats-band performing on such instruments. Prima balalaika, balalaika bass electro, electro-alto balalaika. Accordion (Bayan).
Q: A patented tuning machine?
A: This system is unique in the world and we have registered a trademark. The machine allows the highest quality of precision in tuning and particularly good, it retains the elasticity of the steel tongue avoiding future unpleasant breaks of the reeds.
Q: Giuseppe : We see, that you have a lot of humor … how does this help in your work?
A: Your personal humor always helps one to overcome difficult moments and periods during the work …… sometimes difficulties with clients, complicated requests, difficulty sourcing supplies, difficult environments around you. BUT the knowledge of music and the great experience of technical parts of accordion helps us solve many difficulties and is also very important in helping clients choose the right accordion for each customer!
Especially being able to give an instant answer to any inquiries from accordionists in regards of special requests or custom made modifications, as almost all accordions these days are custom made – that is – each country has special requirements for the finish of an accordion. Each country has its music styles and to suggest to accordionists, the correct accordion for his style of music is very IMPORTANT.
Many times it is NOT the accordionist choosing the accordion but the factory advising the right accordion for the accordion music the client is intending to play!
Q: Regarding the future….how do you see any changes coming up due to the computer 3D printing?
A: Well – one has to make a difference between an industrial company (there are only very few in Castelfidardo) and while some are looking at investing in this, most accordion production does not have the numbers. A small company like ours…. who could simply not cope with the costs for such investments, even if producing many accordions, as our production is divided into so many different models.
The only automation that we were able to put into use was the tuning machine and it is working – if one considers, that each accordion has 224 reeds inside and if an accordion is producing 20 accordions per month…. this will amount up to about 2,000 reeds per month! This gives enough numbers for an investment – whereas it will not be the same – if I produce only 4 accordions of each type per month.
Our company is focused upon efficient production, investing money in semi-manufactured parts in advance/stock. So new orders are being completed in a reasonable time frame which means any investment made in advance is being repaid by delivering the accordion in the shortest time possible !
Q: Your business was very revolutionary – starting to advertise only on the internet in 2000, when most companies still made paper advertising or exhibition advertising ?
A: Starting a new accordion brand in a negative economic climate for accordion, was a risk. But on our side, was the new advertising media – the INTERNET, available, reaching even the furthest country in this world and avoiding like spending a lot of money visiting countries and international fairs throughout the world yet still being able to present our product in great detail, to all accordion lovers, with your product available online around world, 24 hours per day.
Presenting accordions through the Internet, meant for us, also to take special care about ALL requests from the customers and to make sure, that for any possible requests or questions, we are giving 100 % support even after the sale and delivery. Making also sure, that no accordion arrives broken due to bad transport.
Karl Frierson (De-Phazz) & Bryats-band African passions "Ten minutes"
Q: What would you like to say to conclude this interview ?
A: I really wish, that for Castelfidardo that all manufacturing businesses can continue with honesty and sincerity to produce fine hand made accordions “made in Italy”. Unfair handling and competition damages a long lasting history of accordion manufacture and, which puts strain and difficulties upon loyal workers and their families.
I believe that “made in Italy” will remain a highlight of accordion manufacture throughout this world which is to the benefit of all Italian manufacturers and also accordion players.
Q. To conclude – what message would you like to pass to accordion players….. ?
A: Well – Fisitalia is always ready to listen and learn the needs of musicians and to receive any valuable input to develop new features in order to encourage a client to purchase a new accordion – a Fisitalia Accordion ! Music, good music on fine handmade instruments should highlight our efforts for excellent quality and the performance of beautiful music, wherever in the world our accordions are played.
Vinicius Bianchini competing in the 2016 Castelfidardo PIF entertainment category.