1937 to 16 December 2003

Italian Accordion Pioneer dies suddenly in Texas - USA
contributed by: Holda Paoletti-Kampl

Gianfranco Gabbanelli (66 years) known as "John", had recently been on a trip to China and then to Mexico. Upon his return to Houston he had telephoned his brother Anacleto only last Saturday saying that he did not feel well. After that, John contracted a high fever, there were some complications and then came the sad news of his sudden death.

John Gabbanelli was a son of Elvio Gabbanelli. He had moved from Castelfidardo, Italy to the USA in 1960 at 23 years of age. Initially he went to tune accordions for a customer of his father's accordion factory however, he then remained in the USA and started a whole tex-mex accordion industry.

Over the years, he and his accordion products became famous throughout Texas and the USA, Mexico and Canada, importing up to 2000 accordions annually. Initially, nearly all the instruments were manufactured in Castelfidardo by his father's accordion factory. Over the years, John was collaborating with various accordion producers from Castelfidardo, establishing a few years ago with his brother Anacleto, a new accordion company called "International Music Company".

From then, virtually all his instruments were manufactured by that company and sold through the company Gabbanelli Accordions & Imports, LLC based in Houston, Texas. John Gabanelli is survived by Louise Gabbanelli (owner, Vice President) and Michael, Mary and Joey Gabbanelli. The company Gabbanelli/USA will now be in the hands of his children Mary and Michael Gabbanelli. The International Music Company, Italy, factory remains with owners Anacleto Gabbanelli, Mary Gabbanelli, Michael Gabbanelli and company.

The Gabbanelli name is virtually a legacy to the Tex-mex musical instrument and amongst Tex-mex accordion lovers, the name has almost a cult following. A heritage indeed to Gianfranco "John" Gabbanelli, a pioneer of the accordion.

Condolences to all his family from the staff of Accordions Worldwide.

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