The Maestro Sacconi
in the testimony of the violin and bow maker
Frank Passa

San Francisco, March 10, 1984
Link: Frank Passa

I met Sacconi through Sderci in 1947. At that time Sacconi was working at E. Herrmann's on W. 57th Street in New York City.

Sacconi had a good reason for the various techniques he used. He would explain why he did things just so, and what would happen if you did it in some other manner.

I was not a beginner when I met Sacconi, but after a few days, his teachings opened up a whole new horizon for me. At E. Herrmann's shop, there were many great Cremonese violins that were being worked on. There I had the opportunity to fully study the workmanship of the great Cremonese makers.

The bow was one of Sacconi's greatest passions. In 1951, I went with him to work at Rembert Wurlitzer's. Sacconi lived in Greenwich Village, just 20 minutes from there. At 6:00 pm, we would remain to make bows. His passion was to make the perfect Tourte bow. We worked together, making gold, tortoise shell, and mother of pearl tips. Today I still enjoy making violins, and bows too. I had given up making bows, but I resumed making them after 25 years.

What I admired most in Sacconi was his honesty and sincerity in helping his pupils. He never kept any secrets. There was no mystery; he would explain his work clearly. There are many mysterious and secretive artists who are so because they don't have the genius in them that Sacconi had. Their art is kept a secret because they don't want to admit to their lack of genius. But Sacconi would stop what he was doing to help someone if he felt that person had talent.

One day a week he would go to teach at a hospital for the disabled. His star pupil at the hospital was Tony Wrona (a wheel-chair patient). Imagine if the early Cremonese kept secrets from each other. There wouldn't be a Cremonese school.

As a restorer, Sacconi was a perfectionist. He wouldn't settle for «pretty good» or «good enough». Like tuning a violin, it was always perfect. At times, Rembert Wurlitzer was so proud of Sacconi's repair work that he would try to demonstrate and analyze the beauty of the repair. At this point, Sacconi would get upset and say that an explanation of his repair was like trying to prove that a perfectly handmade $ 100.00 bill is counterfeit.

He also had an uncanny memory. I could hold up a Stradivari and, from a distance of about 15 feet, he would be able to give me the year that violin was made.

Just about all his hobbies (fishing, boating, cooking, gardening) were cultivated to perfection. He was a gourmet and connoisseur of the finest. We would meet him at 5:00 am to go hunting for mushrooms, always with great success. Sometimes we would be an hour late for work, but it didn't bother R. W. because he liked wild mushrooms. He would accept a bag full with pleasure, along with our excuses for being late.

San Francisco, March 10, 1984

Taken from the book: «From Violinmaking to Music: The Life and Works of Simone Fernando Sacconi», presented on December 17, 1985 at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. (Cremona, ACLAP, first edition 1985, second edition 1986, pages 73-74 - Italian / English).