Military bands of the Bundeswehr

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The beret badge of Bundeswehr military musicians

There are 14 military bands of the Bundeswehr, including those of the German Army, Air Force, Navy, and joint bands. Before 2009, the military musicians of the Bundeswehr constituted a joint specialist service, the Military Music Service (German: Militärmusikdienst), subordinate to the Armed Forces Office (German: Streitkräfteamt). In 2009, as part of a larger reorganisation of the Bundeswehr, the organization of the Military Music Service was replaced by the new Military Music Center of the Bundeswehr (German: Zentrum Militärmusik der Bundeswehr) in Bonn, and several bands were disbanded. The bands of the Bundeswehr provide music for official ceremonies such as the Großer Zapfenstreich and the swearing-in of new recruits. In addition to their traditional military music repertoire, they perform concert band and light music, as well as genres such as jazz, rock, and pop.

Structure[edit]

The professional management of all the military bands of the Bundeswehr lies with the director of the Military Music Center of the Bundeswehr. Since 2001, Colonel Dr. Michael Schramm has held this position. The individual bands may be subject to military divisions or regional commands as well.

Joint bands[edit]

There are four joint service bands in the Bundeswehr that are part of the Armed Forces Office, a component of the Joint Support Service. There also are two bands associated with military districts, which used to be Army bands. Although these bands primarily use German Army uniforms, they are not officially subordinate to the Army.

Insignia Name Location Date established Notes
StMusKorpsBwWappen.svg Staff Band of the Bundeswehr
Stabsmusikkorps der Bundeswehr
Berlin 1 April 1991 Part of the Berlin Garrison Command, responsible for protocol in Berlin
MusKorpsBw.jpg Bonn Band of the Bundeswehr
Musikkorps der Bundeswehr
Siegburg 16 February 1957 Tours within Germany and internationally, and responsible for protocol in the Bonn area
BigBandBw.png Big Band of the Bundeswehr
Big Band der Bundeswehr
Euskirchen 29 March 1971 Big band ensemble
AusbMusKorpsBw.jpg Training Band of the Bundeswehr
Ausbildungsmusikkorps der Bundeswehr
Hilden 1999 Responsible for training new musicians; planned to be moved to Düsseldorf
WBMusKorps I.jpg Army Band Neubrandenburg
Heeresmusikkorps Neubrandenburg
Neubrandenburg 1 April 1991 Established as Army Band 80, later Army Band 14, and Military District Band I
GMK Wappen.png Mountain Band of the Bundeswehr
Gebirgsmusikkorps der Bundeswehr
Garmisch-Partenkirchen 1 July 1956 Established as the band of the 1st Mountain Division, now associated with Military District IV

Army[edit]

Insignia Name Location Date established Notes
HMusKorps 1.jpg Army Band Hannover
Heeresmusikkorps Hannover
Hannover 1 July 1956 Established as Musikkorps II A, later Army Band 1; associated with the 1st Panzer Division
HMusKorps 2 (V1).jpg Army Band Kassel
Heeresmusikkorps Kassel
Kassel 1 July 1956 Established as Musikkorps IV A, later Army Band 2
HMusKorps 300 (V1).jpg Army Band Koblenz
Heeresmusikkorps Koblenz
Koblenz 1 July 1956 Established as Musikkorps IV B, later Army Band 300
HMusKorps 12.svg Army Band Veitshöchheim
Heeresmusikkorps Veitshöchheim
Veitshöchheim 1 May 1962 Formed as Air Force Band 5, later Army Band 13, and Army Band 12
HMusKorps 10 (V1).jpg Army Band Ulm
Heeresmusikkorps Ulm
Ulm 1 July 1956 Established as Musikkorps V B, later Army Band 10

In addition to the professional Army bands, there are several amateur marching bands made up of reservists.

Air Force[edit]

Insignia Name Location Date established Notes
Luftwaffenmusikkorps 3.svg Air Force Band Münster
Luftwaffenmusikkorps Münster
Münster 11 July 1956 Established as Air Force Band 1, later Air Force Band 3; in March 2014 the other three air force bands were merged with it
Air Force Band Erfurt
Luftwaffenmusikkorps Erfurt
Erfurt 15 March 1991 Established as Army Band 70, later Military District Band III

Navy[edit]

Insignia Name Location Date established Notes
MMusKorps O.jpg Navy Band Kiel
Marinemusikkorps Kiel
Kiel 1956 Previously Navy Band Baltic Sea, before it was merged with Navy Band North Sea in March 2014

History[edit]

A Bundeswehr band during a parade in 1969 celebrating 20 years of NATO

While the formation of the Bundeswehr was being prepared in the 1950s, then-Chancellor Konrad Adenauer is said to have placed great importance on the formation of military bands. He demanded at least one band be formed during the Bundeswehr's first year of existence; and, indeed, six bands were formed. The first band of the Bundeswehr was established on 2 January 1956, Musikkorps III A in Andernach (later Army Band 7). The bands of the Bundewehr have gone through many phases of reduction, growth and change since then. For some time each Army division had its own band (some of these bands, like the Gebirgsmusikkorps, survive today in some form), and the Navy and Air Force have had more than their current one or two bands for most of their history. These serve as the link of the armed forces to the long years of the German military music tradition.

Personnel[edit]

The enlisted personnel of Bundeswehr bands are drawn from those who initially volunteer for two years of service in the Bundeswehr (and formerly conscripts). Unteroffiziere (junior NCOs) used to be allowed to enlist for a minimum of four years. Feldwebel (senior NCOs) enlist for a minimum of twelve years of service, including a four-year undergraduate degree in music at the Robert Schumann Hochschule. Commissioned officers earn a Diplom degree as Kapellmeisters and commit to a minimum of fifteen years of service. Senior NCOs and commissioned officers go through their advanced training as members of the Training Band of the Bundeswehr.

In the case of war, military musicians will serve in the Joint Medical Service. In addition to musical training, every musician receives some form of medical training, including study at the Medical Academy of the Bundeswehr (German: Sanitätsakademie der Bundeswehr) for senior personnel.

References[edit]

External links[edit]