The extraordinary life of Maestro Danzi


Master Danzi’s birth

M° Danzi Ovidio Alberto was born in Soresina (CR) on the 27th October 1943. It is there where he started taking private piano classes at the age of six, for seven years. In the meantime, at the age of eight he started studying singing and light music, being awarded the first prize (“L’ugola d’oro”) at the Cremona Festival, presented by Mike Bongiorno and the singer Nilla Pizzi.

At the age of thirteen he started studying bassoon at the G. Verdi conservatory in Milan, under the guidance of M° Montanari, principal bassoon at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan. He graduated with honours in 1964. At the time, the renowned poet Salvatore Quasimodo was the director of the school, while his Poetic-Dramatic Literature teacher was the poet Alda Merini.

First concerts and Teatro alla Scala’s competition

His first public chamber music concert, for piano and bassoon, was played in Lugano (Switzerland). He had a great success, so much that the musicians from the Teatro alla Scala wanted him to play with them, even if he was still a student. This is where he met M° Mucetti, who taught him all the secrets of the making and working of reeds.

In 1964 he started forming part of the Angelicum Orchestra in Milan. Later, he won an audition and was hired by the Teatro alla Scala, where he stayed until 1969, when he became the principal bassoon at the Turin Symphonic Orchestra, being first in the selection process and getting the highest mark.

Here, he met the greatest orchestra conductors of the time, among which Karl Screiber, Lorin Mazel, Zubin Metha, Giuseppe Sinopoli, Herbert Von Karajan (who wanted him at Berliner Orkestr) Karl Bohn, Dimitri Mitropulos, Sergiu Celibidache, Carlo Maria Giulini, Leonard Bernstein, George Pretre, Andrè Previn, Carlos Leiber Leonard Bernstein, Willem Furtwangler.

In 1966 he won the audition in Bologna as the principal bassoon in that theatre, and in the same year he won an audition for a second chair at the Teatro alla Scala. Later, he won an audition at the Teatro alla Scala as a principal bassoon, getting top marks.

In 1967 he won the audition as a second bassoon with the obligation to play principal bassoon in the RAI (Italian Radio and Television broadcast) orchestra in Rome. In 1968 he won an audition as the principal bassoon at the Opera theatre in Genoa. Then, in 1973, he won an audition in RAI and became the principal bassoon.

Fame in Europe

During his artistic journey, he collaborated with several concert groups. From 1963 to 1969 he belonged to the Milan Sextet and played all over Europe, achieving great success in France, Belgium, Germany, Spain, Greece and Turkey, playing Vivaldi, Mozart, Beethoven, Poulenc, ect.

From 1968 to 1972, he joined the instrumental band of the Scala, playing in Lebanon and in all the Eastern Mediterranean. He also formed part of a small orchestra interpreted and conducted by Salvatore Accardo with Igor Stravinskij’s “The Soldier’s Tale”, played by the actor Dario Fo.

In all of these concerts he always was the only bassoonist, also performing in several concerts as a soloist.

He took part in chamber ensembles in RAI, always playing as the only bassoonist from 1970 to 1981.

He had an intense concert career as a soloist at the Piccola Scala Theatre, playing all the best composers reported above, conducted by M° Claudio Abbado.

They had several concerts all around Europe, but the most important tour was the one in Russia.

The Danzi’s travel to Master Teacher

His experience as a teacher started very early. He taught ensemble music for winds at the conservatory of Verona from 1970 to 1974. There, he met his first pupils: prof. Luppi and prof. Montagna.

From 1974 to 1978 he was a chamber music teacher at the conservatory of Brescia.

From 1980 to 1991, he was a bassoon teacher at the public conservatory of Bergamo. There he formed a group of pupils that he would always follow and love.

In the meantime, he took part in the summer courses of the Frentana Season in Lanciano, in Abruzzo, as a wind teacher in that orchestra.

From 1984 to 1994, he worked as a bassoon teacher and as a wind ensemble music teacher in the summer courses of Portogruaro International Music Academy (VE).

From 1990 to 2009, he was called by the most prestigious music conservatories in Europe, to teach the making and working of reeds and to give bassoon lessons to young musicians.

His students from the conservatory of Bergamo would always be present in his life and are still considered special and interesting personalities: Stefano Canuti, Giorgio Versiglia, Giovanni Magni, Williams Persico, Oscar Locatelli, Christian, Lanfranco Bettinelli, Emilio Gueli, Federico Bravi. Someone that gave a contribution to M° Danzi’s musical journey was Prof. Lorenzo Bettini, with whom he collaborated to perfect the knowledge of reeds and of the sound of bassoon.

The Danzi Laboratory’s birth

M° Danzi opened his laboratory in 1996, with the name of Danzi sas. di Danzi Ovidio & c. It is currently called Danzi sas di Paola Frasson & c.

He started his work itinerary with the working of gouged, profiled, shaped woods for bassoons, and later of reeds for oboe and clarinet in sib. He started studying this last one in memory of M° Budini, first clarinet at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan (1976), who had taught him the colours of sound and their beauty, putting as a point of reference the colours and sounds of nature.

M° Danzi continuously perfected the pantographs of the machines of his laboratory. Many musicians and bassoon students from all over the world came to see him and asked him for technical, theoretical and musical advice. Many musicians are still playing his reeds. Among these, the great soloist M° Sergio Azzolini, whom M° Danzi really esteemed and appreciated for his genious, musicality, love and generosity. Mrs. Paola Frasson is still thankful to all the musicians who have collaborated and been present during this study. He taught many bassoon students from all over the world, giving free accommodation and food: his home and his laboratory were open for anyone without any restriction.

He died on the 5th April 2013, at the age of sixty-nine and after a long and tormented sickness. He died in peace, with strength and great dignity until the moment that he passed away.

The great Paola Frasson’s work

I am Paola Frasson, the widow of Ovidio Danzi. I thought it would be opportune to describe this extraordinary man, even if he did not want to show off how good he was, as he was simple, humble and elegant. But I saw how the world goes and I noticed that it is good to divulge and make his pure talent known.

Thank everyone for your attention, I greet you all.


Paola Frasson’s Curriculum Vitae

Paola Frasson has got twenty-five years of experience with Maestro Ovidio Danzi in the working and building of canes for bassoon, oboe and clarinet.

She started her musical studies at the age of eight, within the musical band of her town, guided the conductor by M° Bassan. With him, she started studying the trumpet in sib, which se continued doing for six years.

Fom 1974 and for five years, she studied the oboe at the conservatory in Buzzolla di Adria (Rovigo), under the guidance of M° Paolo Pellarin (who is currently the director of the conservatory of Udine). She then kept on studying for three years under the guidance of M° Soderi, second oboe at Teatro Maggio Fiorentino in Florence. She graduated as a private student in Perugia with a mark of 8,25.

In 1978, she graduated from ‘magistrale’ high school. She was an elementary and middle school teacher for some years.

In 1986 she attended the international music courses in Portogruaro (Ve), under the guidance of M° Danzi. She played several concerts and chamber music sonatas for oboe and piano, by Paul Hindemith, Richard Strauss and Johannes Brahms.

In 1996 she started working with M° Ovidio Danzi in the laboratory of Danzi sas in Milan, which she is still carrying on, building reeds for wind instruments.

Il Maestro Ovidio Danzi all’età di 16 anni