top of page

Lou Fanucchi

Raised in San Diego's Italian-American neighborhood, Lou Fanucchi began accordion lessons at age 7 1/2 with Charles Bertolino. At 16, Bertolino informed Lou's parents he could not teach him anything else and recommended he continue studies with international accordion icon Anthony Galla-Rini. Lou spent eight years as Galla-Rini's protégé  as the two developed a deep rooted, everlasting friendship. Fanucchi studied classical and free bass accordion, growing a virtuosic technical command understanding of the instrument and developing a powerhouse left hand ability rarely displayed by accordionists. Simultaneously he studied at San Diego State University receiving a B.M. degree in accordion performance in 1985. Fanucchi received additional instruction from San Diego State University's founder/director of classical accordion studies, Donald Balestrieri. International recording artist Frank Marocco, provided training in jazz techniques and phrasing.

Professional Career and Achievements


Lou Fanucchi began a professional career with a "steady" weekly gig at age 15. In 1978 he won the "Prince" category (16 years of age competition, Western U.S.) and in 1979 the "King" category (17-21 years of age) at the AFNA (Accordion Federation of North America) competitions in Los Angeles. He was one of 4 winners at the 1983 International Accordion Grand Prix Competition in Los Angeles. The next year he won the National Accordion Virtuoso Competition in Colorado Springs and premiered Galla-Rini's 3 movement Sonata in D Minor for accordion at San Diego State University. In 1985 Fanucchi began playing Petosa accordions which blossomed a friendship with the Petosa family, one of the premier accordion manufacturers in the world.


Fanucchi moved to the Yoel Dan School of Music in Los Angeles to teach accordion classes and private instruction from beginners through highly advanced levels. While residing in North Hollywood, Fanucchi's performance schedule increased rapidly and included acting in movies, television and live theater as well as music. During this time he became an active member of The Screen Actor's Guild and Actor's Equity. His frenzied schedule of music, acting and teaching continued in Los Angeles through 1988 before he moved back to San Diego to reside and start a family in 1989.

Fanucchi's reputation as a world class musician has promoted the accordion in a positive venue as an instrument of diversification, complexity, unpredictability and passion. Fanucchi's accordionship surpasses social status and ethnic boundaries as is evidenced by a sampling of an accordion's roller coaster week in Fanucchi's hands. A week could include: an Italian venue in Little Italy, a gypsy jazz gig in L.A., a klezmer concert, a Tex-Mex/Rock showcase, a backyard fiesta in Tijuana, a Piazzolla concert, Sunday worship music in church and a Sunday afternoon performance with The San Diego Symphony!

bottom of page