Heckelphone Festival

20. June 2024 By Comments Off

Although the development of the heckelphone is largely due to the impulse and idea of Richard Wagner, it was primarily the composer Richard Strauss who used this instrument in his major works. A close relationship developed between Strauss and Heckel, which later led to further developments of the instrument, such as the piccolo and the terz heckelphone.

On the occasion of the 120th anniversary of the heckelphone and the simultaneous 160th anniversary of Richard Strauss’ birthday, the Viennese composer Werner Schulze and the heckelphone enthusiast Prof. Holger Hoos, who teaches in Aachen, organized the first heckelphone festival with the support of the Heckel company and the Richard Strauss Institute in June 2024.

The four-day festival, which was attended by heckelphonists and heckelphone enthusiasts from all over the world, began at the Eberbach Monastery in Eltville am Rhein, where seven heckelphones could be heard simultaneously in the historic basilica for the first time.

The Heckel company also took the 120th anniversary and the gathering of such a large number of international guests as an opportunity to finally present the new heckelphone, which had been redesigned in the previous two years, to the public. For the first time, the participants had the opportunity to test the new instrument extensively and to enter into dialog with the instrument makers and discuss the various new features of the instrument.

The Heckelphone Festival culminated in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, where the Richard Strauss Days were taking place at the same time. In addition to panel discussions with contemporary heckelphone composers and a book presentation on the instrument, various heckelphones were also exhibited. In addition to the heckelphone redesigned in 2024, one of the first heckelphones to be produced was also on display. A special highlight was the exhibition and demonstration of one of the few piccolo heckelphones and one of the extremely rare terz heckelphones.

The Heckelphone Festival ended with a successful final concert at which many of the international festival guests presented their instruments in various formations – accompanied by piano and string quartet, among others.