Leandro Bisiach Sr.
At the dawn of the 20th century, violin making in Italy was flourishing on a scale that had not been seen for almost two centuries. One of the greatest beneficiaries of this was Giuseppe Leandro Bisiach, today known as Leandro Sr. Despite his modest background, he had the talent and acumen to found a dynasty of five maker-dealers and to build a grand violin making and dealing establishment. This was the first of its kind in Italy, and one that would bring him fame and fortune, firmly carving his family name into violin making history.
The man who was destined to create the 'post-Antoniazzi' Milanese school was born on 15 June 1864 in Casale Monferrato, Piedmont. He shared his birthplace with Count Cozio di Salabue, the first great connoisseur and collector of fine violins. Two important contemporaries, Annibale Fagnola and Celeste Farotti, were born in the immediate vicinity and quite a number of other excellent makers, including Giovanni Battista Pressenda and Giuseppe Rocca, also originated nearby. I have often wondered why this particular region, lying to the east and south-east of Turin, should have been the cradle for so many excellent violin makers, despite the fact that they mainly perfected their craft in Turin or Milan completely independently of each other.
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