Founded in Chicago in 1864 by George Washburn Lyon and Patrick J. Healy, Lyon & Healy built its first harp, Model 21 #501, in 1889. It was the sincere love of music and the enterprising nature of the young and ambitious Healy which drove the company to improve an instrument already thought to be perfect.
It was Healy’s covenant which set the stage for decade after decade of groundbreaking innovation in engineering and craftsmanship. His words articulate Lyon & Healy’s most basic motivation: “Let us build a harp that will no longer worry its owner because of its liability to get out of order easily; let us build a harp that will go around the world without loosening a screw.”
For well over a century, Lyon & Healy artisans have maintained Healy’s commitment to a practice of old-world craftsmanship while embracing new-world innovations.
Today, Lyon & Healy strikes that balance daily as it pushes methods, materials and technology to better the instrument and better the craft—never falling back on routine or sacrificing quality for the sake of cost. Use of the latest technology enables Lyon & Healy to refine parts of the instrument in greater detail and efficiency, while old-world craftsmanship ensures that care, precision and pride go into the building of each harp.
What was true in 1889 is true today: The name Lyon & Healy equates to superiority and ingenuity in harpmaking as defined by harpists worldwide. And, as the lineage of a Lyon & Healy harp passes hands from craftsperson to harpist, the entire staff has confidence and takes pride in knowing it will again be passed down through families for generations to come.
As Lyon & Healy continues to uphold the finest principles in harpmaking for a second century, the company and its employees move forward, unyielding in their commitment to craft, value and service, and setting new standards along the way.
Alberto, Aida and Victor Salvi were the children of a Venetian violin maker, Rodolfo Salvi, who moved to Viggiano, a small city in southern Italy famous for the construction of harps. In the early 20th century, the Salvi family moved to the United States, where their passion for this instrument sealed the destiny of the three youngsters. Alberto Salvi was to be defined by the celebrated Nicanor Zabaleta as "the greatest harpist of all time."
Aida Salvi became a composer and harpist with the Chicago Opera. Victor Salvi became
a harpist with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra and the NBC Orchestra under
This was the year and place of birth of the first Salvi harp. The proud “father” was Victor Salvi, who had decided to revive his family’s instrument-making tradition. With the collaboration of a few craftsmen, he aspired to create a harp that would surpass the sound and craftsmanship of all existing harps and proceeded to construct the first prototype.
In 1956, Victor Salvi moved back to Italy and founded his company in a splendid site, Villa Maria, in Genoa. The 16th-century Villa Maria soon became a landmark for musicians interested in a new and revolutionary line of harps: Salvi harps.
Victor Salvi and the ancient Marquisate of Saluzzo, in the Italian region of Piemonte: this was not a mere coincidence. Wood craftsmanship sinks its roots deeply into this land: from master carpenters, to wood sculptors and inlayers. This craftsmanship tradition gave rise to a sense of culture and excellence that won over Victor Salvi. This is why he decided to move his company to Saluzzo to further perfect his harps and transform Salvi Harps into an exclusive and prestigious brand name.
Towards the end of the 1970s, Victor Salvi moved his firm to Piasco, a small town in the southern Varaita Valley, near Saluzzo. This was the beginning of a new chapter in Salvi history. The concept and philosophy were new. The capacity to optimize the sound of this instrument was new. Even the commitment to fulfilling the needs of every individual harpist, from the aspiring beginner, to the celebrated professional was new. Salvi began creating a wide range of harps, of unique and inimitable quality. These harps became known and coveted worldwide as Salvi Harps.