World Harmonica Festival 2009


Stuttgart/Trossingen, 02. Nov. 2009:        

2000 visitors and 700 participants from more than 30 nations met in Trossingon last week as a result of invitations to attend the World Harmonica Festival hosted by the Fédération Internationale de l’Harmonica (FIH) and HOHNER, the worlds largest manufacturer of harmonicas.  This year marked the sixth such festival, with those in attendance displaying tremendous enthusiasm for such a small instrument, the harmonica.  Several performers took it a step further with virtuoso performances using a Hohner “Little Lady” four hole harmonica which is less than two inches long, but has a sound that charms listeners.

After a performance by the Orchestra Hohnerklang from Trossingen during the opening ceremony, many stars of the international harmonica scene gathered to play music, compare techniques and create lasting friendships.

“The absolute highlight of the festival was the Concerto for the Diatonic Harmonica and Orchestra written by Howard Levy, which he performed with the Hohner Accordion Orchestra…” says Klaus Stetter, Managing director of HOHNER Musikinstrumente GmbH & Co.KG. 

There were also a lot of spontaneous “play togethers”: “For example the Spanish group Reyes del KO met the Dutch musician Dwayne Verheyden with his accordion. Without hesitating they invited him to come to the stage and to play a boogie together,” continues Stetter.

During the day, 19 different workshops were held by artists.  This offered amateur players and fans the chance to learn ‘up close and personal’ from the professionals about artistic and technical topics.

Beginners as well as professionals competed with each other for the title of World Champion, and international panels of judges elected the “Olympia Winner” in each of 14 categories.  Those wishing to try again will have to wait four years, when the next World Harmonica Festival occurs.

In addition to the festival competitions, workshops and concerts, attendees toured the Hohner factory, visited a special exhibition of the Deutsches Harmonica Museum, and attended Late Night Sessions for the opportunity to see some amazing techniques, undiscovered talents, and meet iconic harmonica stars like Howard Levy and Jerry Portnoy

The Festival ended with a Chill Out Concert, organized by Steve Baker featuring the band Opportunity. “It was a lot of fun seeing so many different people from different countries united by their love and passion for music,” resumed Klaus Stetter.