In the central Italian province of Rome, is a town called Fiumicino. There you’ll find the Centro Studi Musicali Torre in Pietra (CSMT). According to their website—that is only in Italian BTW—the CSMT is a non-profit association which was founded in 1989, with the intent of promoting the language arts and music in its various aspects.
If Google translate can be believed—which is a pretty big if at times—the President of the CSMT since 1996, has been a man by the name of either Berni Attilio (Italian), or Attilio Berni (English). (See what I mean about Google translate?) To keep things consistent, I’ll just go with the English version of his name: Attilio Berni.
Among other things, Attilio Berni is a saxophone historian. He has amassed an enormous collection of 500 rare and unique musical instruments, which he uses in concerts, conferences, and exhibitions throughout Italy and Europe. These instruments range in size from the smallest saxophone in the world—the Soprillo—to the full size contrabass.
Berni’s project is called Saxophobia, and it is through this project that all these small, large, and in many cases extremely rare, vintages saxophones, are exhibited and performed on. Saxophobia is a visual and aural journey through the saxophone’s development, and pays homage to the saxophone as the King of Jazz.
Check out this YouTube clip of Attilio Berni performing on just some of these 500 horns in Saxophobia.
Addendum: Berni’s project is not the only one like it. American saxophonist and educator Rob Verdi has a Saxophobia project as well, in which he demonstrates some of the rare saxophones of the past and present.
Both of these performers of course draw their projects’ names from saxophone virtuoso Rudy Wiedoeft (1893 – 1940). Arguably, Wiedoeft’s most famous composition is titled Saxophobia.