A celebrated Italian guitar virtuoso who some consider the Italian equivalent of Tarrega. Concert guitarist, teacher, composer, luthier. A successful career in multiple fields of music for several decades. Some of the most outrageous and distinctive plucked stringed instruments the world has ever seen.
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His father was a cobbler and his mother a weaver. Soon Luigi was able to obtain a job in the town band of Faenza, as a clarinetist. The story goes that one summer evening Luigi heard a guitar for the first time.
He was so impressed that he strongly desired to learn how to play it. His first borrowed guitar was very old and rickety, but Luigi was able to repair it. In the meantime he also studied oboe, hoping to find employment.
He eventually studied at the Conservatory of Bologna beginnig when he was 22, receiving his diploma in oboe with full honors. Then he lived in America for two years , as oboist in the New York Philharmonic.
In New York he published the three volumes of his "Studies for guitar" in , published by F. During his stay in Paris, Mozzani became interested in the making of the guitar, too. He then returned to Italy, staying first in Faenza, where he established his first workshop for guitar making. In he published various pieces for guitar among which the famous "Preghiera". There he prepared a model of guitar after Guadagnini.
Mozzani continued to deal with guitar making without abandoning concertizing. In the he presented anonymously a Serenata at the musical contest of the Italian magazine Il Plettro, organized by Mr Alessandro Vizzari guitarist and publisher. This composition won the first prize with golden medal and then it was published with its caption: the notorious Feste Lariane, air with variations. Between and Mozzani toured especially in Germany and Austria. He stayed in Munich, hosted by Mr Buek, president of a guitar society.
There he visited a collection of harp guitars, or guitar-lyras, built many years before by Austro-German makers the Viennese Knaffl and Schenck, Raab, etc. Mozzani was keen on these instruments, especially for their construction and also for the use of the sub-bass strings and for the technical possibilities.
He was also very fond of the "Wappen" guitars see e. Der Gitarrenfreund Munich During the first decade of the s, Mozzani settled finally in Cento, in the province of Ferrara. There he made various models of guitar with the cooperation of local craftsmen. He alternated between the craft, the concerts and the teaching. He tried to change the model of guitar-lyras conceiving a device able to regulate the angle of the neck through a system of screws. This innovative solution was patented in Then he had to leave Germany, because of the political turmoil.
Between and he made many bowed instruments and all the types of string instruments necessary for constituting a plectrum orchestra. He worked in close collaboration with all the plectrum orchestras present in Italy. In his school there was the ypoung and skillful Mario Maccaferri, who wwas to cleverly continue the work of concertizing, guitarmaking and commerce.
In Mozzani started again his concert activity, that brought him to almost all Italian cities. And so he did for the next 15 years. However Mozzani did not give up keeping his hands busy: he designed and manufactured a wooden "counterbore" with metallic parts for the left hand fingers and a pocket stringed tablet of hollow wood for training the right hand. He made also a portable folding travel guitar.
In , after an agreement with the municipality of Cento, his laboratory was transformed into the "Italian School of Lutherie Luigi Mozzani" and was later transferred to Bologna. One could enter this school only through a contest. After however the school was closed for political reasons. Luigi Mozzani would again take up his craft in a workshop at first in Cento and finally in Rovereto. His guitars were sold almost worldwide.
Until Luigi kept on performing publicly. He recorded three 78 rpm albums with much of his music that are still preserved. Mozzani was only able to open a school again in in Rovereto. There he died the subsequent year, in The last Mozzani school was still active until under the guidance of his wife Alfonsina and a trustworthy instructor, when the municipality decided to stop their activity.
Most of the materials were resold or dispersed, the heirs drew up a contract with the Farfisa musical house, allowing the making of guitars with the brandname "Mozzani. Here is the rustic Italy of the popular singing, the bourgeois Italy of the Veristic epoch and of the "Ideal. Mozzani" p. Back to text V. Back to text R.
Back to text Preface by Angelo Gilardino in L.
Luigi Mozzani 1909