DELFI MERLO VIOLINMAKER IN MILAN
Delfi Merlo began his violinmaking career in 1977, as an apprentice with the Milanese firm Monzino: a shop for which many distinguished builders had worked, including (among others) the Antoniazzi brothers, Erminio Farina, Gennaro Marino, Severino Riva, Ambrogio Sironi, Piero Parravicini, and Luigi Galimberti. There he had the opportunity to work personally with such ‘old guard’ Milanese luthiers as Gianotti, Malagutti, Farotto, and Garimberti.
A few years afterwards, he enrolled at the Scuola di Liuteria (violinmaking school) in Cremona, from which he received his diploma in 1984.
He opened his own workshop in 1985.
In 1987, he was commissioned to restore several historic stringed instruments in the collection of the Museo degli Strumenti Musicali housed in Milan’s Castello Sforzesco. The same year, he was also entrusted with the maintenance of the stringed instruments belonging to M15ilan’s Civica Scuola di Musica (now the Accademia), also known as Villa Simonetta.
In 1988, Milan’s Teatro alla Scala asked him to restore several double basses in its possession.
From 1988 through 1990, he was entrusted with the maintenance of the instruments in use at Milan’s Conservatorio di Musica, and with repairs on the same conservatory’s double basses.
In 2007, he began his work on restoration of the historical stringed instruments belonging to Milan’s Conservatorio, an assignment at which he still works today.
Also in 2007, he attended a course on the latest new restoration techniques, taught by the master violinmaker G. Eittinger of Los Angeles.
Delfi Merlo’s work as a restorer has always gone hand-in-hand with his role as a builder of new instruments; in 1992, he began exporting his instruments, first to South Corea, and subsequently to the United States as well.
Since 2004, he has been commissioned to build cellos for customers in Ireland, Germany, and England, as well as continuing to meet the ongoing demand for his instruments from students and teachers in Italy.
The professional skill and experience he has built up as a restorer and builder serves him well when he is called upon to adjust stringed instruments, in order to make the most of their tonal possibilities.
Over the past decade and a half, he has been active as a teacher of traditional Italian violinmaking and restoration techniques in his own shop.
Thanks to his long experience, he is much in demand among conservatories throughout Italy as a lecturer on the construction, restoration, and adjustment of stringed instruments.
The year 2016 saw the publication of his book "Il ferro e l'anima LO STRUMENTO AD ARCO: costruzione, funzione e manutenzione" ("The tool and the soul: THE BOWED STRING INSTRUMENT: construction, function, and maintenance"), published by Volontè & Co.
From 2018 he teaches "Technology of the musical bow instruments" at the "Giuseppe Nicolini" State Music Conservatory