Musikmesse 2018: German Musical Instrument Award to go to Steffen Friedel and Gebrüder Mönnig

The coveted German Musical Instrument Award for 2018 will go to Wappenbratsche (Escutcheon Viola) by Steffen Friedel Streichinstrumentenbau and to the Oboe Model 155 AM by Gebrüder Mönnig Holzblasinstrumente GmbH.

The German Musical Instrument Award will be presented for the 28th time at Musikmesse 2018, which takes place from 11th to 14th April. In this highly international setting, the competition draws attention to outstanding products made in Germany.

This year, special attention is due not only to the instruments but also their makers who, with courage and innovativeness, have generated positive signals for the sector. The awards ceremony will be held for invited guests in the ‘Rotunde’ of the Festhalle on 13 April 2018.


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.

Oboe Model 155 AM

Human judgement was also decisive in the oboe category with almost all testing musicians singling out the Model 155 AM by Gebrüder Mönnig as their favourite. In particular, they emphasised the timbre of the low register, the volume across the entire spectrum and the response as being very good. They were also delighted with playability under all circumstances. The Model 155 AM received the best marks of the competition in the tuning judging block. The very good second place in the craftsmanship assessment and third place in the objective test underscored the positive overall impression made by the instrument.

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.

German Musical Instrument Award 2019

In 2019, the German Musical Instrument Award of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie – BMWi) will be given in the categories ‘# Steel-string guitar (flattop, 6 strings)’ and ‘# B♭ trumpet (piston valves)’ from the plucked instrument and brass instrument product groups.

The competition is open to all musical-instrument manufacturers in the Federal Republic of Germany whose instruments are available via the retail trade or direct sales (except unique models). The aim of the award is to draw international attention to German companies and to increase their chances in the market.

The winners not only receive medals and certificates but are also invited to promote their products with the award label. Additionally, all award-winning instruments are to be seen in a special exhibition at Musikmesse in Frankfurt am Main.

The closing date for written entries is 20th April 2018. The instruments will be called for in August 2018. Further information at


About Laura Barnes 427 Articles
Founder/Publisher of UK musical instrument industry publication MI Focus.