In 2001, Fazioli built a new, expanded, modern piano-production facility, and in 2005 opened an adjoining 198-seat concert hall with a stage large enough for a chamber orchestra, where he maintains a regular concert schedule of well-known musicians who perform there. The concert hall is designed so that it can be adjusted acoustically with movable panels and sound reflectors to optimize the acoustics for performing, recording, or testing, and for different kinds of music, musical ensembles, and size of audience. The hall is used for the research and testing of pianos — every instrument Fazioli makes is tested here. In addition to the research activities in the concert hall, the new factory also contains a research department for ongoing research in musical acoustics in cooperation with a number of educational institutions.
Fazioli builds only grands, about 120 per year, in six sizes from 5' 2" to 10' 2", the last one of the largest pianos in the world, with the further distinction of having four pedals. Three are the usual sustain, sostenuto, and una corda. The fourth is a "soft" pedal that brings the hammers closer to the strings — similar to the function in verticals and some older grands — to soften the sound without altering the tonal quality, as the una corda often does. A unique compensating device corrects for the action irregularity that would otherwise occur when the hammers are moved in this manner. The fourth pedal is available as an option on the other models. Fazioli also offers two actions and two pedal lyres as options on all models. Having two actions allows for more voicing possibilities without having to constantly revoice the hammers. A second pedal lyre containing only three pedals can be a welcome alternative for some pianists who might be confused by the presence of a fourth pedal.
All Fazioli pianos have inner and outer rims of maple. Pinblocks are of Delignit, except for the largest two models, which use five-ply maple pinblocks from Bolduc, in Canada. The pianos have Renner actions, Kluge keyboards, and either Renner or Abel hammers. The bronze capo d'astro bar is adjustable in the factory for setting the strike point and treble string length for best high-treble tone quality, and is removable for servicing if necessary; and the front and rear duplex scales can be tuned to maximize tonal color. The company says that a critical factor in the sound of its pianos is the scientific selection of its woods, such as the "resonant spruce" obtained from the Val di Fiemme, where Stradivari reportedly sought woods for his violins. Each piece of wood is said to be carefully tested for certain resonant properties before being used in the pianos. Similarly, three different types of wood are used for the bridge caps, each chosen for the most efficient transmission of tonal energy for a particular register.
An incredible level of detail has gone into the design and construction of these pianos. For instance, in one small portion of the soundboard where additional stiffness is required, the grain of the wood runs perpendicular to that of the rest of the soundboard, cleverly disguised so as to be almost unnoticeable. The pianos are impeccably prepared at the factory, including very fine voicing — even perfect tuning of the duplex scales.
A series of stunning art-case pianos is a testament to the ability of the Fazioli artisans to execute virtually any custom-ordered artistic variation on the six Fazioli models.
Those most familiar with Fazioli pianos describe them as combining great power with great warmth in a way that causes music played on them to "make sense" in a way made possible by few other pianos.
Warranty: 10 years, parts and labor, transferable to future owners within the warranty period.
Pianos made by: Julius Feurich Pianofortefabrik GmbH, Gunzenhausen, Germany
This German piano manufacturer was founded in Leipzig in 1851 by Julius Feurich. At its height in the early part of the 20th century, the company employed 360 people, annually producing 1,200 upright and 600 grand pianos. Like many German manufacturers, however, Feurich lost its factory during World War II. Following the war, the fourth generation of the Feurich family rebuilt in Langlau, in what became West Germany.
In 1991 Bechstein purchased Feurich and closed the Langlau factory, but in 1993 the name was sold back to the Feurich family. For a time, production was contracted out to other German manufacturers, including Schimmel, while the Feurich family marketed and distributed the pianos. In 1995 Feurich opened a new factory in Gunzenhausen, Germany. Under the direction of Julius Feurich, the fifth generation, the family-owned company is once again building its own pianos, and is currently making about 50 to 60 high-quality instruments per year in two sizes of grand and three sizes of vertical. All pianos and parts are made in Germany. The 49" model 123 vertical is available with a choice of actions, either the traditional Feurich action, made by Renner, or the Fandrich Vertical Action™, made by Renner under license from the Fandrichs (see Fandrich & Sons for more information), for which Feurich has the exclusive rights in Germany. Feurich also offers the innovative Wessell, Nickel & Gross composite action parts as an option in its grand pianos.
Warranty: 5 years, parts and labor, to original purchaser.