The Original Elbe-Musikanten German Band takes its name from the Elbe River, Germany's second largest river. The river itself originates in the Czech Republic. “Elbe-Musikanten” literally means “Elbe (River) musicians.” The band is a group of nine to thirteen musicians who enjoy playing the traditional style mainly of German, Austrian, Czech and Slovak music such as polkas, marches, waltzes and other dances as well as favorite songs. The music is typical of the kind you would listen to at a German village event where the community gathers to celebrate and socialize. This, of course, includes also music for Oktoberfest and Gemütlichkeit. The band itself is configured, in true German village style, to include flugelhorns and tenor horns, along with clarinets, trumpet, trombones, tuba, and percussion.
Elbe-Musikanten was founded by Andreas Marx in December of 1994. The band evolved out of the European Wind Ensemble of Richmond (Virginia), also founded by Herr Marx. Since the European Wind Ensemble had grown to an over 25 piece band, there was a need to establish a smaller group to meet new requirements for other performance settings. All musicians are from the Greater Richmond area, and several have their professional background in music. Thirteen years after its inception, over half of the members of the band are founding members.
In the beginning, the band provided Central Virginia with traditional wind music from the Czech and German Elbe river regions. Soon, however, requests were made to perform at local Oktoberfest parties and the band expanded its repertoire to include Bavarian music, even though the Elbe River does not flow through Bavaria. Hence, the band has played at over 100 events mainly during the Oktoberfest season in the past ten years.
Some highlights include a trip to Saint Paul, Minnesota, in 2002 participating at the German-American culture festival “The Rheinfest on the Mississippi.” Since 2003, the Elbe-Musikanten has performed at the region’s largest Oktoberfest at Fort Belvoir. Further, the band has performed throughout the Richmond area, as well as Oktoberfests in northern Virginia, North Carolina, at Longwood University, and Bedford County.
The band’s founder, Andreas Marx, conducted the community band in his German home town on the Elbe River for four years prior to his move to Richmond in 1991. In 1988, he achieved a Conductor Diploma for amateur bands at the Music Academy of the German Athletic Association. In June of 2001, he graduated in band conducting from the Federal Music Academy in Germany. In addition to conduction the European Wind Ensemble of Richmond and the Original Elbe-Musikanten German Band, Herr Marx was an active member of the Richmond Symphony Chorus. Between 2004 and 2007, he was the director of the German Men’s Chorus GVA. He holds a B.M. in Music Education from Virginia Commonwealth University.
Unfortunately for Richmond, in 2007 Herr Marx moved back to Germany. The band was taken over by Doug Hurt, who has played clarinet and saxophone in Elbe-Musikanten since its inception.
Although, the Original Elbe-Musikanten German band specializes in Oktoberfest music, it is available for any event. The band has played for numerous other German festivals, birthday parties and other private parties, church events, and more. For further details, please give Doug a call at (804) 307-3286 or (804) 379-5779. It would be a great pleasure to play for your event and help to make it a full success!