The Maestro Sacconi
in the testimony of the violinmaker, restorer and expert 
Hans Weisshaar

Los Angeles, March 21, 1984
Link: Hans Weisshaar

I first met Sacconi in 1937 in Cremona and later that same year in New York, where he directed the workshop of Emil Herrmann. At that time I showed him an unvarnished violin for his critique and advice and from then on visited him regularly until I was employed by Emil Herrmann. From that point on, working full time with Sacconi, I had the unusual opportunity to work under his guidance until 1947, when I moved to Los Angeles and established my own business. I will not dwell on anecdotes, but will state what I believe are the most important and admirable contributions which this renaissance man made to our art and craft.

First of all he had a marvelous skill in all phases of wood carving, classing him among the best ever. In addition he could draw and retouch like a painter and above all, he understood the great classic Italian makers of the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries and had developed – through his almost fanatical dedication and industry – a great overall knowledge and refined taste.

With all these wonderfully developed gifts came an artistic fantasy which enabled him to invent new and sophisticated repair techniques which he taught to those students who really worked with him. He was a true pioneer in this field and the consequence of his teaching activity was that he raised the level of violin making and repairing in the United States to such a degree that it is second to none today. His associates have carried on his work here as well as in Europe.

As far as research is concerned, nobody before Sacconi matched the zeal with which he studied the work of the classic Italian makers. The very intimate study of about two-thirds of Stradivari's work enabled him to publish his very valuable work «I ‘Segreti’ di Stradivari». He also became very interested in the study of materials used by the classic makers and his findings in regard to the purfling materials used by different makers and in different schools were faithfully catalogued and added to by Dario D'Attili, who was undoubtedly the most devoted pupil, assistant and longest co-worker (35 years) of Sacconi.

I have been asked in what way Sacconi influenced my work. The answer is “in every way”. He helped me to understand and appreciate the great classic Italian tradition.

Los Angeles, March 21, 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, page 56 - Italian / English).