The German Musical Instrument Award is the most important award for the country’s musical-instrument makers and has been presented by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Technologie – BMWi) during Musikmesse for nearly 30 years.
The two categories in which the award is given are changed annually and reflect the multi-faceted character of the musical-instrument sector in Germany. The commitment of the Ministry underscores the significance of handicrafts production for the German musical-instrument sector and the German economy.
The winning instruments 2018:
Bold design: ‘Wappenbratsche’, Streichinstrumentenbau Steffen Friedel, Dresden
The extravagant design of the Wappenbratsche viola by Steffen Friedel immediately catches the eye. The design is inspired by the form of the F-holes of a Campanula by H. Bleffert and the peg box of the 1720 ‘Gillott’ Dancing Masters violin by A. Stradivari. However, it was not only the design but also the other qualities of the instrument that made it stand out: the testing musicians were delighted with its playability and response in all circumstances and they gave top marks for, inter alia, its open sound, volume and variability. Overall, the jurors described the ‘Wappenbratsche’ viola as innovative and pleasing. Second-best rating in the objective test and fourth place in the production-quality assessment rounded off the very positive opinions.
The ‘Wappenbratsche’ viola (body length: 415 mm) is made of high-grade Tyrolean spruce for the top and Bosnian maple for the back. The ribs and the neck are made in accordance with tradition. The instrument is finished in linseed-oil varnish based on dammar and copal.
Oboe Model 155 AM, Gebrüder Mönnig Holzblasinstrumente GmbH, Markneukirchen
The Model 155 AM oboe symbolises the illustrious resurrection of a brand: the roots of the company stretch back into the early 19th century. Until the 1950s, Gebrüder Mönnig was considered to be the world’s leading oboe manufacturer with its bassoons and clarinets also firmly established in the world’s biggest orchestras. The period after 1945 and the subsequent nationalisation resulted in a phase of stagnation that went hand-in-hand with a considerable image decline. Only after 1990 did the company begin to regain lost ground. The breakthrough came ten years later with strategic decisions, such as the modernisation of the production characteristics and improved quality control. Today, the hand-made instruments by Gebrüder Mönnig are once again to be found in the world’s leading orchestras and enjoying a first-class reputation.
The Model 155 AM oboe is made of untreated, polished Grenadilla wood with gold-platted mechanical parts and is fitted almost completely with silicone-coated cork pads. The adjustment screws are all made of ‘Nirosta’ stainless steel and, in certain cases, have Teflon inserts.