Borsini - A
Life for the Accordion
with his grandchild Laura
in a flat above the Borsini accordion factory in Castelfidardo, Italy,
son of Elio Borsini who had founded the factory in 1922.
He finished technical school in 1944 and at the age of 10 began to
study the accordion with Giovanni Marcosignori, father of the world
famous, Gervasio Marcosignori. In 1946 Vincenzo began working in the
mechanical department of the Borsini factory making bass mechanisms.
As Vincenzo had the gift of "perfect pitch" he also studied the acoustics
of the accordion, which led to him making improvements to the sound
quality of the Borsini range, and by 1949 he was employed full-time
in the preparation of reeds and tuning.
1950 Vincenzo went to the U.S.A. to work as a repairman for one of
the biggest accordion importers on the American West Coast and after
8 months, he moved to New York to work in the Excelsior factory, owned
by his uncle Egisto Pancotti. During his time in New York Vincenzo
was acquainted with many world famous accordionists of the time (Antony,
Gallarini, Russ Messina, Carmen Carozza, John Molinari, Dick Contino
and Frank Gaviani) and became a personal friend of none other than
Having acquired a great wealth of knowledge and experience in the
U.S.A., Vincenzo returned to Italy in 1957 to work with his family
and contributed to the "Borsini boom" when the factory was exporting
6000 accordions annually. The good times continued for Borsini until
1963 when the popularity of the guitar caused a worldwide slump in
accordion sales. Vincenzo, however, was undaunted by this and suggested
to his brothers that they should specialise in producing only quality
instruments and, after adopting this policy, Vincenzo introduced major
manufacturing improvements resulting in top quality professional accordions,
one of the first being a Cassotto model with 2 sets of reeds and weighing
only 8 kilos (as played by Nick Ariondo). During this time, Vincenzo,
wishing to improve his accordion technique, was studying with the
famous Adamo Volpi.
In 1964, Vincenzo returned to the U.S.A. to work with Joseph Romagnoli,
owner of the Italo-American Accordion Co. of Chicago where he was
servicing and tuning accordions for the chain store Montgomery Ward.
It was during this time that Vincenzo became a personal friend of
Leon Sachs and Tony Dannon, whose influence led Vincenzo to develop
a real jazz sound in the accordion. Tony Dannon was the founder and
director of the Modern Accordion School of Champions and he personally
taught the great Peter Soave using accordions produced and tuned by
In 1981, in a joint project with Lars EK of Sweden, the nostalgic
accordion was produced. This was a lightweight 4-voice accordion suited
to the music of Frosini and Deiro.
Hohner Trossingen approached Vincenzo in 1985 to create a top quality
free bass convertor line and it was during this time that he became
friends with Franz Lindemeir, the quality control manager at Hohner.
It was at the suggestion of Franz that Vincenzo produced an accordion
for Hugo Noth, the musical director of the accordion department at
the Trossingen Conservatory of Music. When Hugo played Vincenzo's
accordion, he was so impressed by it that he embraced Vincenzo and
refused to play any other accordion. When Hohner heard of Hugo Noth's
accolade, they offered Vincenzo the job of senior technical manager
with a fabulous salary, but Vincenzo declined, preferring his talent
to benefit only Borsini.
Further advances were made in the bass mechanism of the free bass
convertor models during 1988 when Vincenzo instructed the Gamma factory
in Castelfidardo on the making of what became the system for the free
During the 1990's Vincenzo continued to improve the accordion enlisting
the co-operation of many accordion professors, mainly Lech Puchnowsky
and the Finnish accordionist, Mikko Luoma, one of the best students
of Hugo Noth. The Borsini Company realised that musicians were looking
for lighter and more compact models and the Vienna range was born.
These were very much lighter than previous models whilst retaining
the quality and sound, and made Borsini the first company in 20 years
to develop a completely new model.
must surely be one of the most experienced technicians in Castelfidardo,
he is also an amiable man who is now endeavouring to pass on his
vast knowledge to younger employees of Borsini to encourage further
developments and improvements in the accordion. He will readily
co-operate with his competitors by giving them the benefit of his
advice, playing their accordions and giving his opinion on possible
musician, accordion player, teacher,
tuner, technician -
in his spare time: a tennis player and
an undoubted legend in the accordion world.
with his friend
Pino Di Modugno