Five-stars tonewood for five-stars luthier-chefs!

Interview with Luca Pozza, founder of Pozza Tonewoods.

On my first day working as an extra in the Orchestra dell’Arena di Verona, you happened to be my stand mate. For me, it was a Boheme play at first sight, and you were very kind!  It was 2005, then over the years, we lost touch, until I find you on Facebook as a supplier of resonance spruce.  What a surprise!

How did you come up with the idea of ​​starting this business?  Did you already have experience in woodworking or forestry, or was it something boosted by your musical career?

Dear Daniela, actually no previous experience. It was born a little by chance and a lot out of passion. I love craftsmanship and nature, and I started rambling around the mountains aimlessly with the only desire to learn as much as possible on the subject. I don’t deny that it was difficult at the beginning finding the right direction to go. Still, after various wanderings, I was lucky enough to meet Giuliano Zugliani, at the time commander of the "Forestale" in Paneveggio, a true luminary who gave me the first rudiments on the subject.

How much preparation there was before proposing your magnificent product? 

Years of research and hard work, my back occasionally reminds me of it ... The resonance spruce is a wood with unique characteristics, and learning to recognise it by identifying the most beautiful and precious logs is an art in itself. 

An exciting moment in your training?

I must say that processing resonant spruce is always an emotion.  Whenever I split it with wedges in radial direction, I always experience that magical moment. The scent, the crackle of the wood that yields along with the fibre, the barking of the trunk with the chest knife.  But if I have to describe an image to remember, I can't help but mention the Cremonese Show of Mondomusica in 2018, when just after the opening, I found dozens of luthiers of all nationalities feverishly choosing soundboards, expressing interest and happiness.

How did you feel hearing the news of the destruction of the woods for the storm of 2018?

A great sadness.  Already a couple of days after the “Vaia”, as soon as I found the roads, I was on the spot to make sure of what happened. A real blow to the heart. Even if it must somehow be accepted that these are recurring episodes in nature, it is established that it is essential to respect the environement in its integrity. The forest can reborn and renew itself over time if well supported by the action men who know how to respect balance and biodiversity.

Luca Pozza is probably the only tonewood supplier so far that always has a stock of wood sized for violoncello da spalla. Because he too loves this instrument!! And we love his wood! Here he is trying our number 1.

On the other hand, what excites you every day about this job?

Here I repeat myself, everyday life.  Splitting a spruce trunk by hand is like opening an oyster: not always, indeed rarely, is a precious pearl found, but when it is found, it is a great emotion. The same goes for wood which, when presented in its magnificence and fragrance, with a regular vein, the ideal weight and the perfect line, gives gratifying emotions.

When I come to visit you, I have a distinct feeling that not only you do love this job, but you also enjoy it.  Emotions aside, what is the part of the job that you enjoy the most?

Mine is a solitary job.  I always work alone and have a lot of time to think.  And in this way, I also have the opportunity to get away from what I don't like about everyday life: vulgarity, gratuitous ignorance and arrogance.  Here, the part that I love most about my work is the solitude… and the thought that my work will bring, in the skilled hands of skilled luthiers, a centuries-old tree to become a musical instrument capable of creating the most extraordinary musical emotions. 

Lately, you have surprised me by coming out on the market with a product with a totally different destination. I would even say a mass product: the MusiCubo. Why? 

I always loved manual work, probably due to the artisan influence that my father left me, who knew how to do everything with his hands. I wanted to add a touch of creativity to my work. I imagined MusiCubo, a resonance soundbox for smartphones built entirely by hand using resonant spruce and precious and ancient hardwoods based on constructive principles of lutherie. A small musical instrument with attention to design and finishes, a beautiful object to own. Taking advantage of the qualities of spruce, the acoustic performance is impressive.

So now, in addition to working in the theatre as a violist, running far from the crowd in your free time to prepare the resonant spruce in your fabulous workshop in the Lessini mountains, on Sunday morning you have a stall at the market in the square in Verona St. Zeno to sell your MusiCubo.  You also play in a quartet and write transcriptions of operas for quartet or quintet with piano.  You have an all-around experience of music, from wood to written notes, to the creation of the musical moment, to contact with the public: luthiers, opera and symphonic concert audiences, kids listening to music on their mobile phones.  Seeing you always smiling, I feel like asking you for a final message/advice based on the richness of your experience.

A message?  For everyone, but especially for young people? Never deprive yourself of the opportunity to choose, to access the most diverse forms of art, to appreciate all forms of unknown beauty and thus enrich the soul.  Do not stop in front of what is served up daily by a short-sighted and flawed beauty system, but seek, always seek beauty in every direction and with a free mind.

News from da Spalla world

On Saturday 25 Väsen Duo are back, with a live stream concert. Michael Marin at the spalla

Updates from our workshop

We enjoyed a week of holiday in Valle d’Aosta, close to the Monte Rosa glacier and the Mount Cervino. Here are the highest 4000 mt mountains in Europe (and some of the richest aperitif!)

Finally we can share the official pics of the first instrument that we made on our personal model. 

It has shorter corners for a better comfort conducting your bow, longer ffs for a powerful sound, and a choice of woods for the fingerboard and tailpiece (here the customer choose pearwood and boxwood). All these give the instrument a great Italian look and sound! 

Featured video of the week

Just a bit of a fresh Bach!