Outstanding instrument craftsmanship to be honoured Musikmesse

This year's German Musical Instrument Award goes to instruments in the tenor horn and E-flat clarinet categories. The awards will be presented to instrument makers from Rhineland-Palatinate and Bavaria during Musikmesse 2013 in Frankfurt am Main. Sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (Bundes­ministerium für Wirtschaft und Technologie – BMWi), the awards will be presented to the winners at a ceremony in Frankfurt City Hall (Frankfurter Römer) on 12 April 2013.

The award winners for 2013 are:

in the tenor horn category

'Alexander 146 GL Tenor Horn', Gebr. Alexander Rhein. Musikinstrumentenfabrik GmbH, Mainz (Rhineland-Palatinate)

in the E-flat clarinet category

'Modell 2000 E-flat clarinet", Fa. Schwenk & Seggelke, Bamberg (Bavaria)

With the German Musical Instrument Award, the sponsor, the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (Bundes­ministerium für Wirtschaft und Technologie – BMWi), aims to emphasise the significance of handicrafts production in Germany for the musical-instrument sector and the German economy. The award has been presented for 22 years running during the international Musikmesse, the world's biggest trade fair for musical instruments and accessories. The multi-faceted character of the musical-instrument sector is reflected by the award-winning instruments of the German Musical Instrument Award. The two categories in which the award is given are changed annually. This year, the winning instruments come from the woodwind and brass segments.

Historically speaking, the tenor horn closes a gap between the low brass instruments, such as the tuba, and high trumpets. The valve horn is primarily used in military, folksy and brass-band music.

The E-flat clarinet is higher in pitch than any other clarinet and, visually, this is reflected by its small size. Due to their intonation characteristics, E-flat clarinets are considered to be extremely difficult to play. Traditionally, they are used in symphony orchestras.

The great vitality existing in the musical instrument sector is also shown by the award-winning manufacturers.

Gebr. Alexander was founded more than 200 year ago. During this time, it made many pioneering developments in the field of brass instruments and the company worked together with numerous leading musicians and composers, including Richard Wagner.

The second award winner, Meisterwerkstätte Schwenk & Seggelke, was founded more recently, in 1995, and makes not only historical reproductions of 18th and 19th century instruments but also modern clarinets, which can be produced in accordance with customer specifications.

The selection procedure

The German Musical Instrument Award will be presented in Frankfurt City Hall (Römer) at 18.00 hrs on Friday 12 April 2013. The certificates will be presented by a representa­tive of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology and the instruments exhibited in a special show during Musikmesse 2013.

To take part in the German Musical Instrument Award, musical- instrument manufacturers from all over Germany submit their instruments for a three-stage selection procedure conducted by the Institute for Musical Instrument Making (Institut für Musik­instrumenten­bau) in Zwota. In this procedure, musicians, all experts on their instrument and active in a renowned orchestra or ensemble, test the instruments for playability, sound and responsiveness. The acoustic-quality tests are objective, i.e., the players have no influence, thanks to acoustic measurements. In the third stage, an expert evaluates the instruments in terms of craftsmanship. The assessment also takes account of value for money. Additionally, it must be possible to purchase the instruments via the trade or from the manufacturer.

Next year, the German Musical Instrument Award will be given in the categories electric guitar (solid body) and tenor trombone (without trigger). The deadline for receipt of entries by the Institute for Musical Instrument Making is 30 April 2013.

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