Alessandro Milani was born in 1982 in Borgomanero, a small city near Novara.
He approached music in young age, particularly fascinated by the enchanting sound of the violin. He began his training having private lessons and afterwards he entered the Conservatorio G. Verdi in Milan and joined M° Daniele Gay’s class. In 2004 he approaches the art of violin making attending Maestro Delfi Merlo’s atelier in Milan, where he learns traditional Cremonese violin making techniques in the field of stringed instruments. He also works in the restoration of antique instruments.
He quickly displays good manual skills which, combined with his previously acquired musical sensitivity, allows him to reach great aesthetic and acoustic results.
He won the first prize and a special prize for best acoustic at the “2009 International Violinmaking competition in Pisogne -BS”, young makers section.
His deep passion and interest in mechanics, music and dynamics of the sound, led him to research the basic principles of the functioning of stringed instruments: a careful study with the purpose of obtaining in his creations the best possible timbre.
He often holds conferences and speeches focused on the mechanics of stringed instruments, with the purpose of giving musicians a deeper awareness, a tool to better understand the dynamics involved in the functioning of the instrument itself, and tips about how to take proper care of it.
He often restores antique violins and cellos and his instruments are highly regarded both nationally and internationally.
I’ve always been attracted by many disciplines: design, electronics, music, craftsmanship, physics and more generalyl by the “behind the scenes” of things. In other words: how things work and what principle makes it possible.
I began studies as a musician. I used to be a violinist and I still play sometimes for pleasure. My life couldn’t be separated from music but I always thought there was more I could do for music itself than just playing. I was sure there were artists much more talented than me. I could probably do something to help those who deserve to play, and do it by making good instruments. I’ve put my entire soul into it. Being a violinist (and curious) really helped me a lot in achieving good results with violin making. I found it easier to understand the sound, the vibration and the “playability” as well as the needs of the player. I had the luck and the satisfaction to sell most of my instruments to young talented people who are having great careers. I’m happy I can have a role in their success. After all… what is a good musician without a good instrument… and what is a good instrument without a good musician?
I’m also a supporter of the idea that violinmaking is living in a modern era and is effectively moving in line with technology. The techniques, the wood, the ingredients are more or less the same of course, but it’s irrefutable that nowadays we can create better instruments than what was possible 200 or 300 years ago. We have achieved a great level of precision, which is possible thanks to technological advances: our carving tools (chisels, gouges, planes, files….) are very finely finished and allow a cleaner execution of every cut; measuring tools (calipers, micrometers, veritas..) are very precise today and allow the maker to have full control over what is happening. Nonetheless, centuries of knowledge allowed us to understand, to experience, to learn from mistakes and to develop.
Research itself played a huge role in this evolution as well. Cooperation with research labs, universities (who own expensive diagnostic machinery), made possible a deeper study of the great instruments made by the world’s finest makers. This was crucial for understanding what was good and what instead could be improved.
Often modern instruments are underestimated, but they can offer even more than antique ones: regarding reliability, strength and sound for instance. A “virgin” instrument absorbs emotions and the character of its first owners better. It’s a bond, an imprint which will mark it forever. It won’t take long to let a well made, beautiful “fresh” instrument achieve the charm and, especially, the sound of a good antique one.
The matter is about quality of materials and quality of work; age is secondary.