FI NAL NO T E
ANTONIO FERRANTI President, Proel North America
By Brian Berk The Music & Sound Retailer: Who was your greatest influence or mentor and why? Antonio Ferranti: I have been blessed with many wonderful mentors in my music education and music industry career. Ultimately, my greatest influence will always be my mother (rest her soul). My mother was an Italian immigrant who raised three children single-handedly in America, with the added challenge of one child, my sister, being handicapped from a devastating car accident. I was blessed to learn the meaning of strength, grace and resourcefulness from a remarkable woman who was faced with hardships, but never complained and always found working solutions for everyone. Her example will forever be my inspiration. The Retailer: What was the best advice you ever received? Ferranti: The best advice I ever received was from Morty Manus, the patriarch of Alfred Music, where I was vice president of sales and worked for over 12 years. In one of the last times I ever saw him before his passing, he was counseling me during a particularly trying time in my life. I was concerned about making mistakes and failing. He confidently said to me, “You should make mistakes. I want you to make mistakes. In fact, as your employer, I demand that you make mistakes. If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not trying hard enough. So, make mistakes. I only ask that you never repeat them.” While I still struggle with the anxiety of making mistakes, failing and letting 54
people down, I continue to hear his advice today. His words continue to comfort me, challenge me and help give me the courage to keep trying.
The Retailer: What was your first experience with a musical instrument? Ferranti: My first meaningful experience with a musical instrument happened at the piano when I was five years old. My sister was 12 and recovering from a devastating car accident that would leave her mentally and physically challenged. Her brilliant brain surgeon recommended that she take piano lessons to help with her hand-eye coordination, brain development and recovery. My mother hired a piano teacher from our church, and I was recruited as my sister’s piano assistant. That powerful experience gave me a lifetime of purpose promoting music education, appreciation and ultimately
a career in our beloved music products industry.
The Retailer: What instrument do you most enjoy playing? Ferranti: The piano. Ironically, the long hours of hard work launching and promoting our beautifully handcrafted Italian pianos throughout North America keeps me from playing piano as often as I would like. But selling quality digital pianos to generations of musicians who will make music for years to come is tremendously satisfying and fulfilling. I am happy to play piano vicariously through our customers these days. The Retailer: Tell us something about yourself that others do not know or would be surprised to learn. Ferranti: With our lives displayed all over social media these days, I’m not sure I have any secrets anymore [laughs]. But
seriously, I enjoy connecting online and sharing experiences with friends, family and colleagues around the world. Recently, I shared a photo memory on Facebook of me with my flight-school Cessna and Piper aircraft. I was always into aviation and took lessons for several years to become a private pilot. Many of the comments from industry friends seemed surprised yet supportive to learn about my flying hobby.
The Retailer: What’s your favorite activity to do when you’re not at work? Ferranti: A favorite activity is wine tasting with friends. I enjoy touring vineyards, driving the countryside with the car top down, savoring wine, talking with winemakers and appreciating their craft — and all in the company of friends. It’s a great way to spend a day. I’m really lucky to live in California and work for (continued on page 52) SEPTEMBER 2021