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02-Apr-2021

Passed Away 5th April: Vincenzo Borsini - A Life for the Accordion - Italy

Vincenzo and Giancarlo Borsini
Picture above: Brothers Vincenzo and Giancarlo Borsini of the family Borsini who manufactured Borsini Accordions for decades from 02 January 1922 until the company ceased operation in 2015.

Giancarlo Borsini (Borsini Accordions) passed away on July 22, 2019. Vincenzo passed away 5th April 2021.

Information about Vincenzo from the Borsini Accordion Site.

Vincenzo Borsini. Born in 1934 in a flat above the Borsini accordion factory in Castelfidardo, son of Elio Borsini who had founded the Borsini factory in 1922.

He finished technical school in 1944 and at the age of 10 began to study the accordion with Giovanni Marcosignori, father of the world famous, Gervasio Marcosignori. In 1946 Vincenzo began working in the mechanical department of the Borsini factory making bass mechanisms. As Vincenzo had the gift of "perfect pitch" he also studied the acoustics of the accordion, which led to him making improvements to the sound quality of the Borsini range, and by 1949 he was employed full-time in the preparation of reeds and tuning.

In 1950 Vincenzo went to the U.S.A. to work as a repairman for one of the biggest accordion importers on the American West Coast and after 8 months, he moved to New York to work in the Excelsior factory, owned by his uncle Egisto Pancotti. During his time in New York Vincenzo was acquainted with many world famous accordionists of the time (Antony, Gallarini, Russ Messina, Carmen Carozza, John Molinari, Dick Contino and Frank Gaviani) and became a personal friend of none other than Pietro Deiro.

Having acquired a great wealth of knowledge and experience in the U.S.A., Vincenzo returned to Italy in 1957 to work with his family and contributed to the "Borsini boom" when the factory was exporting 6000 accordions annually. The good times continued for Borsini until 1963 when the popularity of the guitar caused a worldwide slump in accordion sales. Vincenzo, however, was undaunted by this and suggested to his brothers that they should specialise in producing only quality instruments and, after adopting this policy, Vincenzo introduced major manufacturing improvements resulting in top quality professional accordions, one of the first being a Cassotto model with 2 sets of reeds and weighing only 8 kilos (as played by Nick Ariondo). During this time, Vincenzo, wishing to improve his accordion technique, was studying with the famous Adamo Volpi.

In 1964, Vincenzo returned to the U.S.A. to work with Joseph Romagnoli, owner of the Italo-American Accordion Co. of Chicago where he was servicing and tuning accordions for the chain store Montgomery Ward. It was during this time that Vincenzo became a personal friend of Leon Sachs and Tony Dannon, whose influence led Vincenzo to develop a real jazz sound in the accordion. Tony Dannon was the founder and director of the Modern Accordion School of Champions and he personally taught the great Peter Soave using accordions produced and tuned by Vincenzo Borsini.

In 1981, in a joint project with Lars EK of Sweden, the nostalgic accordion was produced. This was a lightweight 4-voice accordion suited to the music of Frosini and Deiro.

Hohner Trossingen approached Vincenzo in 1985 to create a top quality free bass convertor line and it was during this time that he became friends with Franz Lindemeir, the quality control manager at Hohner. It was at the suggestion of Franz that Vincenzo produced an accordion for Hugo Noth, the musical director of the accordion department at the Trossingen Conservatory of Music. When Hugo played Vincenzo's accordion, he was so impressed by it that he embraced Vincenzo and refused to play any other accordion. When Hohner heard of Hugo Noth's accolade, they offered Vincenzo the job of senior technical manager with a fabulous salary, but Vincenzo declined, preferring his talent to benefit only Borsini.

Further advances were made in the bass mechanism of the free bass convertor models during 1988 when Vincenzo instructed the Gamma factory in Castelfidardo on the making of what became the system for the free bass convertor.

Vincenzo must surely be one of the most experienced technicians in Castelfidardo, he is also an amiable man who is now endeavouring to pass on his vast knowledge to younger employees of Borsini to encourage further developments and improvements in the accordion. He will readily co-operate with his competitors by giving them the benefit of his advice, playing their accordions and giving his opinion on possible improvements.

This is Vincenzo Borsini, musician, accordion player, teacher, tuner, technician - in his spare time: a tennis player and an undoubted legend in the accordion world.
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