Victor Salvi, Harpist and Maker of Harps

Victor Salvi on the Museo dell’Arpa Victor Salvi

Quick! How many harpists (string, not harmonica) can you identify by name? Before this post, I sadly could only come up with two–Harpo Marx and the late Derek Bell (of the Chieftains).

Victor Salvi (March 4, 1920-May 10, 2015) came from a family of musicians and musical instrument makers. (His brother, Alberto Salvi, was deemed “the greatest harpist of all time” by celebrated Spanish harpist Nicanor Zabaleta.)

Salvi himself played with numerous distinguished orchestras, including the St. Louis Sinfonietta, the New York Philharmonic, and the NBC Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Arturo Toscanini.

Debussy “Le Mer” performed by the NBC Symphony Orchestra

In the 1950s, he returned to his ancestral home in Italy and founded his own harp company, Salvi Harps, which has grown to become one of the pre-eminent makers of harps in the world.

“What is harp?”