In the early seventies, Victor Salvi, after carefully searching for an artisan environment, favourable for the manufacturing of a complex instrument as the harp, chose Saluzzo, land of the Ancient Marquisate of Saluzzo, famous for specialists in processing wood. After buying the former Wild cotton mill warehouses in 1974, he established the harp factory, with the corporate name N.S.M. meaning “New Musical Instruments” to express the intention of the founder to manufacture a revolutionary technical harp. Today, research and development are still the added value of the company, which after a steady rise, has become the industry leader. Salvi Harps N.S.M. is organisationally structured on an industrial level, but production is still carried out by craftsmen, ensuring the top quality of Salvi harps.
Lyon & Healy of Chicago and the English Bow Brand that produces nylon strings, used to make harp strings and the renowned Wimbledon tennis rackets are also part of the Salvi Group.
To make a harp you need to assemble and calibrate approximately 2000 mechanical pieces and 150 parts made of fine wood, left to dry: from rosewood to Canadian maple and to the red spruce from Val di Fiemme, the tree of the violins used by Stradivari. Each manufacturing phase has strict and continuous quality control. Each year 1500 harps are manufactured, 90% of which are destined to the foreign market. The company specialises in the production of pedal harps for grand concerts, Celtic harps, teaching and professional instruments, covering 85% of the professional world market.
The Victor Salvi Foundation was established in 2000 to promote the harp through activities that contribute to the knowledge of the instrument and its music. It is a non-profit organisation, born in Chicago, USA and is active in Italy, the United Kingdom, France and other parts of the world.
The main areas of activity are addressed to concert organisation, to supporting international harp competitions and the presentation and promotion of your harpists. Other significant areas of activity of the Foundation regard the diffusion of music and research educational programs relative to the harp and the commission and publication of new musical repertoires that extend the use of the instrument. The president of the Foundation is Julia Salvi, who shares the passion for the harp with her husband Victor Salvi and follows the promotion and sponsorship of events.
Valle Varaita is a land of ancient and deep-rooted cultural traditions and integral part of the area that speaks Occitan that goes from these Alps as far as the Atlantic. It is also due to the existence of this cultural context that for centuries the ability to work wood has been accompanied here by the taste and practice of popular music. Therefore, it is no coincidence that “Salvi Harps”, a company in which the workforce quality is the essential element of the production cycle, settled in an area that excels in the manual ability to work wood. Likewise, it is no coincidence that the then Comunità Montana Valle Varaita, the authority that by definition was responsible for planning the development of the area, had started an extensive recovery and development process of the musical culture innate in its people. The common need to produce development through culture is the basis of the strong collaboration, initiated in recent years between the Comunità Montana and the Salvi Company. Naturally as a valley authority, the Museo dell’Arpa is an important piece of a more general policy that has seen the creation of the Istituto Musicale di Venasca and heavy investments in the museum sector with the launch of a network of thematic museums on popular culture that range from sundials, to traditional furniture, costumes, wood, music and the art of masons. In this sense, the “Museo dell’Arpa” is the element which, more than any other, links culture to the territory and to its production system, making Valle Varaita an area of excellence within the Occitan Valley system, as the one of the ancient lands of the Marquisate of Saluzzo.