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A craftsman makes the Berliner vibrate.

LA STAMPA – NOVARA – 10 May 2014
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After a career on the stage, now Mr. Zanolo has a workshop in Grignasco.
A craftsman makes the Berliner vibrate.
Every “mallet” is calibrated by the artist himself.

Mr. Gianni Zanolo carries on doing music.

After spending his life playing all around the world, today, thanks to his knowledge and expertise the leather timpani vibrate on the most important stages in the US and Europe.

After ending his 30 years career as a musician, freelance and percussionist in various bands including the Raf Montrasio band, he has made the most of his experience coming back to his hometown of Grignasco where works as a high level top craftsman.

Mr. Zanolo has in fact started making his own “mallets” when he was a musician, with the support of his mentor David Searey.

Today, judging by the quality of his work, what it was considered to be a hobby it has become a proper job.

Lara, Mr. Zanolo’s daughter, owner of Laralab La Bottega di Lara, has been involved in the family business and she is now in charge of Sales and Marketing.

Creating a pair of mallets is a meticulous job and it can require some days of hard work.

“Every professional timpanist needs at least 20 mallets at his disposal – says Mr. Zanolo, because each music has its own mallets”. For instance flannel and leather mallets are needed in order to play Mozart whereas romantic music requires a different kind of material. In this case in fact the mallets in their top part underneath the felt wrapping have a completely different material.

The secret is in the details: “layers of different dimension overlapping discs”, lets it slip Mr Zanolo before making sure that he won’t reveal any other secrets.

It seems that musicians are now asking for cashmere mallets, the latest product in the catalogue.

Musicians ask for the mallets to be sent to them all over the world however, when they tour in Milan to La Scala theatre they come on person to Mr Zanolo to explain exactly how they would like their mallets to be.

“It’s a question of empathy: having been a musician myself I know exactly what timpanists want.

During a concert the mallets become a natural extension of the musician’s body.

Every piece is basically unique, tailored and based on the person that will have to use it”.

“The weight is paramount. Our mallets are never over 3 tenth of tolerance” – explains Mr. Zanolo.

Once the mallets have been created, the artist himself tests them in his workshop to then modify them according to the client’s requests.
Many clients order mallets with coloured inserts – Lara confesses – and this is usually to support their favourite football team”.

A 28 products collection
Bamboo, felt and wood

Bamboo from Cambodia, felt from Bavaria, wood from Bulgaria: the raw materials used by Mr. Zanolo also come from abroad.

However, the high level top craftsman does not move from Grignasco where Gianni and Lara Zanolo produce 28 different mallets sent all over the world.

Besides being used in conservatories the mallets produced in Grignasco are also used by the Saint Petersburg Philharmonic, the Berliner Philarmoniker, Helsinki Silbellius Orchestra and by the Byelorussia and Czech National Orchestra; not to mention Italian realities such as Maggio Fiorentino and RAI Symphonic Orchestra.

The RAI Orchestra lead timpanist Claudio Romano congratulates with M. Zannolo about the quality of his work.

“I was use to the idea that craftsmen in our sector have become extinct. One day Mr. Zanolo turned up asking me to test his mallets. I can in all honesty say that I have never played with mallets so perfectly created and with such a high attention to details”.

Fonte: La stampa