Know the People Interviews, Fratelli Alessandrini
Celebrity Interviews

Editor Holda Paoletti-Kampl with Alessandrini Accordions
Tonino Alessandrini (owner)
Daniela Alessandrini (owner)

Alessandrini:   Daniela Alessandrini and brother Tonino Alessandrini.
Also the children of the Alessandrini Family were born  into an accordion manufacturing family!

Q: Tell us – when did you first get “involved” with the accordion……
A: Big smile of Daniela Alessandrini – telling us – that when her mother was pregnant with her – she was working in the manufacture with the reed blocks and during the night – when she was rushed to the hospital – she had been working!

Our father was working at an early age in the biggest factory here – Paolo Soprani. And from the age of 14 years, he was learning all the skills of building hand made accordions. At that time – all workers had to pass from one department to the other in order to be able to build one entire accordion if needed.

Giorgio Conte at CQFP 2011

Q: When did your father start his own business?
A: The first one to start his own business was his brother in 1952….. as my father continued to work with the factory Paolo Soprani. So my father was working during the day in the Paolo Soprani factory and in the evening he would help his brother with the newly started business.

My father started his own business in 1970 with the name Alessandrini Fratelli. Before then, they were making parts for other accordion companies as so many handicraftsmen did at that time. Most had been trained in the big companies here in Castelfidardo and when the large companies, closed, they often made contract work for the remaining bigger factories.

Q: The first Alessandrini Accordion?
Was built in the 1960s – but not as a factory product – but for private accordionists, who knew my father and uncle were excellent handicraft workers and asked them to build an accordion for them.

Piotr Rangno @ Jazzfest Gronau 2013

Q: Daniela – you are the first born child and Tonino only 1 year and a few months later. We suppose, that YOU both have spent a lot of time in the manufacturing laboratory…right?
Yes – of course….. especially, as our home was up-stairs…. the lab was downstairs and of course our parents were downstairs ALL the time!

We played there as children too – with pieces of wood – with all kinds of parts, that belonged to the accordion, which made us interested…. more than playing with other toys.

Q: Tonino – did you start to work immediately in the family business – or did you study?
Well – me and my sister both attended high school but during our vacations we were "working" in the factory and we also got paid for it! Which was a great pleasure for us.

Daniela: I was sent by my father in the afternoons to a lady, that was a tuner, so I could learn this very important part of the accordion – the TUNING.

That is how we got acquainted with the different accordion production processes that are now the base of our work.

Q: So you both learned and know every process of accordion manufacture to complete 1 entire accordion from the beginning to the end?
Daniela: I am not acquainted with the wooden part process (I am a bit scared of the cutting machinery).

Tonino: yes – I do, but actually, I am not doing all different processes – we have workers, that make some of the processes. Our main responsibility is taking great care with the finishing areas of production and very careful checking and adjustment, to be sure, that each accordion leaving our manufacturing is 100 %.

Our family used to make everything inside  – even the bellows! So we were used to being confronted with all parts of accordion production. My mother even did the celluloid herself.  Also our reedblocks were always made inside the factory and are different to others.

Q: So many years in the accordion business – how do you feel it has changed?
A: Most probably, I am not the first one to say, that the accordion production has changed!

Specialized workers are becoming less, especially as the passionate workers from once upon a time are no longer working or have even died.  So many young people take other opportunities than learning to produce an accordion which is very time consuming and many other jobs are easier to learn.

The accordion means passion and without passion  for this instrument it is difficult to learn.

The production itself has become more efficient due to the technogical help. The paintings have become more colourful, the woods have become lighter…. and new features are possible.  So this has helped a lot.

Q: You are saying – new technological features – what does this mean to YOU?
A: Especially Internet has helped a lot we believe! It has helped to be in fast/easy and economic contact with clients…. and to be able to give instant answers to questions.

We are also able to show special features with web-cams. One can talk without big costs…. one can use online translations for understandings. All this was very very difficult in the past…. so thanks to todays communications features, many relationships have been created in different countries, which would not have been possible before!

Q:  Over the years, have you changed or add new features to your production line of accordions?

A: Yes – we have added many more models.  We have steadily worked our way up from small models to bigger ones and now are producing also professional converter  instruments.  And with pleasure we follow our customers, that are performing with our instruments for concerts and for important classical accordion competitions.

Q: So you mean, that your production line has become more of the professional instruments ?
A: Professional yes – but also much more personalized. Accordonists seek THEIR instrument. As Alessandrini is a small handicraft factory, many customers are addressing us with special requests and wanting specific features, which are also interesting for us build, add value to the order and therefore we find, that Alessandrini Accordions production,  has each accordion looking a bit different.

Improvisation nach Chopin Preludio di bossa - Piotr Rangno recorded at St. Johannis Nieblum, August 2009.

Q: Did this change  your production ?
A: Yes – enormously. We must organize ourselves with a semi-prepared stock, in order to complete production in reasonable time period, without having the customer to needing to wait for too long.

It hardly exists today, that orders come in for many pieces, with the same colours, same features….etc. Sometimes, we are asked to make a special grille – that we are designing ourselves, and its normal for nearly every accordion order, to have different requests.

Trio 67 perform La Vie en Rose. Piotr Rangno (accordion), Christiane Hagedorn (vocals), Christian Hammer (guitar).

But we are prepared and have adapted to this new way of producing Alessandrini Accordions, manufacturing the many different specifications, as requested by clients.

Q: About the future of  Alessandrini family?
A: Tonino : I have a daughter, that likes singing and a smaller son, that has now started to learn the diatonic accordion and is always saying, that he wants to learn to make an accordion with his Papa!  We shall see - we hope.

And – there is still time for me and Daniela to continue our work… considering, that our father stopped working only a few years back – now being 88 years old.

Arts2 Mons - Portes Ouvertes 2016 - Olivier Douyez & Pierre Liemans performing Opale Concerto composed by Richard Galliano.

Q: What is important for you, when you place the name Alessandrini on your accordions, ready for shipment?
A: For us it means responsibility (next to pride of course).  Placing our name on the accordion, means to us, that if the accordion is not correct, not as it should be – we are the ones to blame!  Our name will suffer – as we have made it – maybe this is our big difference compared to other companies who have workers there to complete an accordion, and maybe not always identifying themsleves personally with each accordion, to the same extent that we do!

Q: When customers come to your old very traditional home based production place under the large house – what do they feel/say?

A: Each time we hear a  positive input from our visitors.  They are getting reminded of the "ancient" way of production.  They feel security – that the old ways of working by hand are not just history, but are still actually happening today. They have a warm feeling that this skilled handicraft is going to continue in future. 

They are not receiving a mass produced product or being just a number, but instead are being an individual ! and we are honest – it is also helping us, helping us to feel special, doing special things for artists, who appreciate the personal touch in all parts of their accordion.

Concours international "Les etoiles Sancyberie" 2015
1er prix junior classique: Loris Douyez(Accordeon) performing 'Beijing 2011' composed by Frank Angelis.

Although we must admit, that eventually, we must find another location, as our Lab is really becoming too small for us….so….pls watch out….we might change soon  …... but we also love our lab under our home with all its family tradition.

Q: We have not asked yet – do your have musical background?
Tonino : I have completed musical studies (with accordion) at the conservatory of Pesaro in Solfeggio -  classical accordion. After my studies I have made several courses for Jazz accordion.

Daniela: I have studied diatonic accordion and I still LOVE to play it.

Q: What do you like best about the accordion industry?
A: Best – we can’t really say, but one thing we have noticed, that being obliged to produce single instruments – and not 10 at the time in the same colours, features, makes us feel good EACH time there is a new accordion completed.

Quintette Hybris: Moscou de Popolzin

Each one alway different….. different colours, different sound, differnet countries…. unique – yes – each piece becomes unique. This is making also our hearts feel unique – each time – that is what we really like about this new way of producing accordions…. Alessandrini Accordions.

Q: To conclude….what message would you like to pass on to your clients/ future clients?
A: We are putting a lot of effort and passion into the production of each accordion and we wish and hope, that this passion can be transmitted also to the accordionist.

If each person feels the instrument – not only the sound, the weight, the looks….. the passion….. our passion becomes their passion for Alessandrini Accordions.

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