Members of the Philadelphia Zither Ensemble and friends recently enjoyed the company of renowned zitherist Johannes Popp and his family. On October 8, 2012, the group came together for an evening of music in Rockledge, PA. Kurt Maute, who attended the event, has kindly provided the following article.
Zither players in the Philadelphia area were honored to have Johannes (Hannes) Popp, a renowned zither virtuoso, take time from his vacation to the United States with his family, for a get-together with zither players and friends this Fall.
Hannes, who is originally from Bavaria, now lives in Switzerland, and is a member of the Munich Zither Trio, along with his brother Robert and Lothar Laegel. In 1983, they performed at the German Society of Pennsylvania for the 300th anniversary of the first arrival of German settlers in America. During their stay they gave zither concerts and seminars for zither players at the Society, and have returned in subsequent years to perform and teach zither playing.
During their recent one-day stay in Philadelphia on 8 October 2012, Hannes and his family paid a brief visit to the German Society of Pennsylvania. They also toured some historical sites in Philadelphia and stopped to see Dr. George Beichl at his home. Dr. Beichl is also a renowned zitherist and advocate of the zither in the USA, and is the founder of the Philadelphia Zither Ensemble (PZE).
That evening a group of us, members and friends of the PZE, dined with Hannes, his wife Sabine and two of his four children, Magdalena and Simon, at the Austrian Village Restaurant in Rockledge, PA. After the meal, Hannes entertained us by playing numerous pieces on the zither. He and his daughter Magdalena also played duets, and we all joined in a sing-along of German folk tunes.
In all, our group of approximately 20, hailed from the Philadelphia area and some from as far away as Reading, PA. Members of the PZE present were Dr. George Beichl, Leonard Zapf, Lenny Zapf, Tom Groeber, Kurt Maute, Maria Skowronek, John Snyder and Tony Walter. Everyone enjoyed the evening and this special, rare opportunity to see Hannes again with his family.
Thank you to Kurt Maute for sharing this story and to Leonard Zapf for the photos used in this article. If you've recently attended a zither event and would like to share your experience, contact us.