Riccardo Bergonzi: "For a luthier in Cremona every day is the Olympics"

A true Cremonese and a friend of Cremona Musica’s, Riccardo Bergonzi will exhibit the best of his production. Instruments that, as he said, must be memorable. We talked with him about his work, his experiences abroad, and the incentive of working in a special place like Cremona.


Mr Bergonzi, how do you combine tradition and innovation in your job?

In my workshop, there is not so much space for innovation… If you talk about the crafting of the instrument, the most innovative thing is the use of a drill press to set the thickness, but I am quite sure it was already used at the end of the 19th century... Innovation concerns other aspects: the pictures of the instruments on the certifications are made with digital cameras, and we communicate via the internet. But I must say that I miss letters and fascinating stamps.


What are the peculiar features of your instruments?

I prefer to let the users talk about this. I can say that I am doing my utmost to offer a product that sounds at its best and that is also “easy” to play.


You are from Cremona, but you also had some experiences abroad. It is something you would suggest to a young luthier, today?

It is something I would strongly recommend, for any reason. In particular, our job has no borders, and you must be like a sponge, ready to absorb everything, without prejudice, with a suitcase full of humility. Leaving your own shell helps you to grow up, and it is very interesting to observe the same thing from different angles.


Cremona is the city of violins, and there are many lutherie workshops. Surely there must be an issue of competition, but which are the opportunities of this situation?

Many workshops and much competition are interesting factors for those who come to buy. There are a lot of choices. For a luthier it is a great incentive to work well. The Concorso Triennale is considered “The Olympic Games of lutherie”, but for those that work here in Cremona every day is the Olympics.


Are you preparing something special for the next edition of Cremona Musica?

At Cremona Musica I always try to bring instruments that sound so well as to be audible also against the typical “noise” of fairs. Joking apart, I always try to bring instruments that remain in the memory of those who try them.


What is the importance of Cremona Musica in your activity?

It is a fantastic event. I exit the “limbo” of my workshop for a three-day immersion where all my world is: woods, accessories, friends, sound… then, on Sunday, I get off the ride, a bit dizzy, but come home very happy.