Bavarian artist visits Cagayan de Oro Music Conservatory

The Liceo Conservatory of Music and Dance hosted Mr. Michael Fiedler of Bavaria, Germany for a demonstration of Bavarian folk music played with the accordion and Alphorn last January 22 at the AVR-1 of Liceo de Cagayan University.

Through a mutual friend, Liceo Music Conservatory Prof. Horst Hans Baecker invited Mr. Fiedler to a demonstration with students of the conservatory and the visitor and his wife Katharina, who were enjoying a vacation in the city from the freezing Bavarian winter, graciously accepted.

Known as Michi to his friends, Mr. Fiedler learned to play the accordion at the age of seven, and at 10 yrs. of age the French Horn (also known as the S-Horn). At that early age, he joined a brass band at his hometown of Penzberg, Bavaria.

Through the years, Michi learned to play various brass instruments from the baryton to the euphonium, trombone, bass tuba and trumpet. At the same time, he was also the band’s presenter and singer.

He joined seven brass and dance bands in his various gigs from El Paso, Texas in the USA, to the Steubenparade in New York, went south to Brazil, then back to Europe for gigs in Langon, France and Prague.Czech Republic).

By the time he was 16, Michi was already playing professionally as a member of the Königlich-Bayrischen Musikanten, which had three No. 1 radio hits in Germany, and went on country-wide tour with the band.

In 1984, Michi was with a fellow musician at the Alphorn Summit of Alphorn groups in the Allgäu near Neuschwanstein Castle. They became so excited with the alphorn that they immediately bought one and  Michi founded the group Penzberger Alphorn quartet.

By the end of 1999, Michi has gained enough proficiency with the Alphorn that he joined the professional group Tegernsee Alphorn with whom he traveled all over Germany for numerous gigs, including stints in television.

However, near the end of 2015, Mich became seriously ill that he had to stop performing altogether to regain his health.  

Fortunately, by 2016 he had sufficiently recovered that he started playing the trumpet again by February, and some time later, the alphorn and the accordion.

Late in 2017, he and his wife were invited by their neighbors Richard and Arlene Bleicher for a vacation in Cagayan de Oro where the winter weather would be better for his health. Fortunately, the Fiedler couple agreed only on the condition that they bring Michi’s alphorn and accordion, to which their hosts readily agreed.

A highlight of their visit was their performance for the Liceo Conservatory of Music and Dance last January 22 with the conservatory students at the AVR-1 of the university.

Michi started with his accordion, playing the Bavarian folk songs 'Weltenbummler' and 'Schneewalzer', followed by another two folks songs 'Erinnerungen' and 'Auf der Alm' on the alphorn to the delight of his select audience led by Prof. Baecker and Violin Teacher Tullio Vidmar of Trieste, Italy.

Then, it was the turn of the conservatory students to surprise him with their rendition of the Bavarian folk song 'Klarinetten-Muckl' under the baton of Prof. Baecker, with Mr. Vidmar on violin and student Joel Matematico Jr. on the solo clarinet accompanied by students on the keyboards, violins, and flutes.

Michi was so delighted with the performance that he insisted on playing the same song with them again, this time with him on the accordion, to everyone’s delight.

After the performance, the conservatory students had fun attempting to play the alphorn with some success, and Michi then played a tune on his alphorn with his instrument directed to the university campus to share the quaint sound of the Bavarian Alps with the students then present.

"My impression was that both Michi and our students really enjoyed the time together," said Prof. Baecker. "The students still talk about newly gained impressions about Bavarian folk music and the unusual instruments accordion and alphorn."

"Michi was initially surprised that the students were so reserved, very shy. In the end, however, the meeting was very cordial and all students were very curious to try out the instruments and to enter into dialogue with Michi. It was a special honor for Michi and he is very happy to have many new musical friends," he added. 

For the many who had not heard or seen one, the alphorn, also called the alpenhorn or alpine horn is a labrophone, consisting of a wooden natural horn of conical bore, having a wooden cup-shaped mouthpiece, used by mountain dwellers in the Swiss Alps, Austrian Alps, Bavarian Alps in Germany, French Alps, and elsewhere.

Similar wooden horns were used for communication in most mountainous regions of Europe, from the Alps to the Carpathians.

The alphorn is carved from solid softwood, generally spruce but sometimes pine. In former times the alphorn maker would find a tree bent at the base in the shape of an alphorn, but modern makers piece the wood together at the base. A cup-shaped mouthpiece carved out of a block of hard wood is added and the instrument is complete.

The alphorn has no lateral openings and therefore gives the pure natural harmonic series of the open pipe.The notes of the natural harmonic series overlap, but do not exactly correspond, to notes found in the familiar chromatic scale in standard Western equal temperament. Most prominently within the alphorn's range, the 7th and 11th harmonics are particularly noticeable, because they fall between adjacent notes in the chromatic scale.(from Wikipedia) (photos courtesy of Mike Baños, NPN)

(Photos: Cover - Michael Fiedler with Prof. Horst Hans Baecker (left) and Asst Prof Tullio Vidmar (right); Michael Fiedler, Bavarian Folk Music Artist; Liceo Music & Dance Conservatory Prof. Baecker tries his hand at the Alphorn.)