A 238 year-old music company shuts down in Mainz

A 238 year-old music company shuts down in Mainz


norman lebrecht

August 13, 2020

Covid has proved too much for the venerable Musik Alexander company of Mainz. The company is abandoning its Bahnhofstrasse headquarters and shutting down the string, wind and percussion instruments departments.

It is hoped that the profitable brass instrument making branch in Hechtsheim and the Piano Alexander store can still be saved.




  • Ned Keane says:

    Alex horns are the best in the world… Played by all the top soloists and orchestral players. It would be very sad to see them fold.

    • Edgar Self says:

      238 years would put them back to about 1782, when Beeethoven was 12 and Mozart 26, Evidently they are instrument makers and dealers. Ned Keane, do you know who makes the Vienna Philharmonic’s unusual- looking horns?

    • Skip Chunk says:

      Mr. VerMeulen plays exclusively on Berg and Engelbert Schmid horns, and his students win almost all of the jobs. What’s your point? This hack-factory will not be missed.

      • Mainzskypeboy says:

        He plays these fine horns to make his job easier and gave him the flexibility and time to devote to harassing his female students for decades.

      • Horn Player says:

        Tsk tsk. You should be ashamed of this comment.

      • Hornist says:

        Not a single Rice University student of Mr. VerMeulen is principal horn of a major orchestra and none work in Europe, where Alexander horns are largely the instrument of choice. This is a disheartening article about an important institution in the music world. Your point is?

        • Crewfanboy says:

          Most of the ones who do have jobs are intolerable colleagues, shaped by an egotistical mindset at a young age by someone who’s own career was held back by the same issue.

  • Thomas Silverbörg says:

    Merkel, the angel of death, smiles.

    • Le Křenek du jour says:

      Now, if you could make a cogent — no, wait, halfway-cogent, considering your premise — case for that rather gratuitously Buñuelian invocation of Samael, we might be getting somewhere.

  • Heini says:

    Looks like a restructuring shedding unprofitable parts of their business, there is no hint of a threat to Alex horns. There’s a long awkwardly translated announcement on Facebook but the original German is there to read too.

  • Trungo Muphista-Crundleberrux says:

    Maybe they can retool their production lines to make ventilators?

  • Berlin Horn Fap23 says:

    Der Hornisten mit Berliner Filharmoniker sound so excellent on Alexander horn!

  • Dorothee says:

    Very sorry to hear this! I bought my first (and last) scores there decades ago! My music teachers at school sent everyone there to buy their instruments. For us it was just a local shop run by people talking in dialect. Viel Glück für die Zukunft!

  • Wise Guy says:

    Alexander horns are the choice of the Berlin Phil horn section because that is the traditional horn sound they want to get. Would be a tragedy if these horns were no longer made. Orchestras that start to sound the same around the globe is partly because of uniformity of instruments internationally.

  • John Guptill says:

    Did you read the press release? They’re keeping the brass and piano operations and dropping the string, percussion and woodwinds.

  • Gary L. Ray says:

    My Wichita company (founded in 1953) has sold horns / French horns since 1962. Between 1986 and 2011, I was one of the four (later three) owners of Paxman Musical (London). I’m 78 years old, have been in the wind instrument business sixty years. We’ve been USA agents for Alexander for thirty years. I maintain that I know a bit about French horns.

    Philipp Alexander is obviously making the same decision that all music merchants are now facing. Simply said, “walk-in” business has declined and mail-order business has increased.

    The production of new horns seems to be doing very well for them, however. We currently have half a dozen in our inventory with more scheduled for the rest of this year. Time of delivery is still a bit slow, which says demand for these superb German brasses is still strong.

    Based on my long experience with brasses, I find it curious to speak ill of the quality of Alexander instruments. Quality is something that is the essence of the soul of this company. There are no “funny notes”, no “klinker” instruments…..not that I’ve seen anyhow. The quality of manufacture and design is superb. Always.

    I propose that the fellow who posted the ill-advised comment take a few minutes to test-drive a new Alex 103. Has he tried one of their horns recently? Or has he ever tried one?

    Bottom line…. There’s got to be some reason why 90% of the pro players in Germany and in other European lands prefer Alexanders.

    I wonder…..has this fellow every played one?

    Best regards from the Great American Prairie, G.R. / Wichita Band Instrument Co.