© 2016 by Johannes Mayr

I was born in Augsburg in 1967.

My musical career began while I was at grammar school (Gymnasium bei St Stephan, Augsburg). I took piano, double bass and organ lessons, sang in a choir and played in an orchestra. When I was fifteen years old, I played the double bass in my first folk group.

Bavarian-Swabian music (folk music) played an important role in our family life. At the age of 18, I started teaching myself the accordeon and became a member of an Irish folk group and also of the “Bergschuster Spielleute”, who played Bavarian music with traditional instruments such as the bagpipes and the hurdy-gurdy. From then on, the archaic sound of drone instruments became an essential part of my musical life. However, although I played the hurdy-gurdy and the bagpipes myself for a time, these instruments were not the focal point of my music but were generally the partner instruments of fellow musicians.

After completing an apprenticeship as a carpenter, I worked as an organ-builder for several years and from 1990-91 as a hurdy-gurdy builder (Karl Riedel, Helmut Gotschy).

From 1993 onwards, I focused solely on performing music, playing with Hölderlin Express (free folk), Lynch the Box and DAN (Irish folk), from 2005 with La Marmotte , from 2008 with Cassard uand in the duo Bordunrot and from 2013 in Trio Larsson/Mayr (SE-DE, nordic folk)

 

My interest in the Nyckelharpa developed relatively late. The initial impulse was given by a nyckelharpa which I received as a gift from a family friend living in Sweden.

In 2007 I embarked on a  three-year European Nyckelharpa-Training  in Burg Fürsteneck in Hesse. In 18 three-day modules I was introduced to the many facets of Nyckelharpa music by four different teachers (M.Ambrosini, Didier François, Ditte Anderson, Annette Osann). This experience rekindled my enthusiasm for instrument-making.

In the autumn of 2012 I set up my own workshop in the village of Sörth, near Altenkirchen (Westerwald), where I construct  Nyckelharpas.

As well as being an instrument-maker and a musician, I offer courses in playing the Nyckelharpa and the accordeon, and in ensemble playing.