26.02.1944       Franz Chmel was born in St.Pölten (Austria).

6 years old     Franz begins playing the harmonic along with his older brothers.

The boy had taken up the instrument and played his first evergreens without instruction.

8 years old     Began Musical school (accordion and guitar).

12 years old     Founded the harmonica trio "Piccolo" with his brothers.


trio Piccolo 1958 WM in Pallanza

1958 Pallanza

1959 Innsbruck

1959 Innsbruck

1962 Staßbourg

1962 Straßbourg


Austrian Championship

1. rank trio


Worldchampionships in Luxembourg

4. rank trio


WCH in Pallanza/Italien

1. rank Trio


Niederaustrian Championship

1. rank solist
1. rank trio
1. rank quartett


WCH Barcelona/Spanien

3. rank solist


Austrian Championship

1. rank solist


Europ. Festival Stuttgart

1.rank trio
1. rank quartett


Internat. Tapecompetition

1. rank solist
2. rank trio
4. rank quartett


WCH Straßbourg

1. rank solist
2. rank quartett


Internat. Tapecompetition

1.rank solist


WCH Helmond/Holland

1. rank trio
2. rank solist

Franz Chmel 1964


The musical black hole

Year 1965   Franz Chmel suddenly ceased to play the harmonica.

1966             His first marriage ends in divorce after only a short period.

Franz continues working in his learned profession as a engine fitter, at the Austrian Federal Railroad Company, eventually rising to become the head of the factory's bookkeeping section.

At this time he meets his second wife Brigitta, who not only becomes his life's companion, but urges him to play again,  indeed  encourages him into starting a new 'harmonica' life.

Though having lived well during these musically barren years, Franz ruefully points out that nevertheless they constitute the darkest musical period in his life.

New shores

1987 Chmel takes up the musical thread again.

Together with his brothers Helmut und Egon and with the support of his wife Brigitta he decides to risk a comeback.

Franz Chmel 1989

1988 the trio reaches the first rank at their first go and

Franz as a soloist reaches the second rank.

1989 Franz Chmel meets Englishman James Moody.

Moody, a fine musician and leader of the Federal Broadcasting Orchestra, was also an outstanding composer (Toledo, Suite From Other Days, etc.) and a link was established when he explained he'd played piano, accompanying British Harmonica star Tommy Reilly for several years.

It was Moody who remarked: "You play like a person from an other planet."

Franz began developing his own remarkable and unique sound, a sound which had never before been achieved on a harmonica. Considering the then lack of technical knowledge and the limitations of the instrument. This was an enormous advance.

He began producing his vibrato using his tongue instead of following other major players, who used their hands.  He also began playing enormously challenging pieces which harmonica experts of the times never believed possible, earning for himself a reputation as the revolutionary of the classical Chromatic harmonica.

During this period he began exercising rigorously, practicing up to 4 hours a day, as well as fufilling his duties at the Railroad Company.



1989 release of the first record "Zigeunerweisen"


1994 second release "Fantasia Baroque"

1996 Franz Chmel ends his career at the Railroad Company

deciding instead to dedicate his life to the Classic Harmonica.

Meanwhile he exercises up to 6 hours a day, he kills up to 6 harmonica-reeds a week and needs five instruments at the same time to be able to do his pensum.

Franz Chmel 1994


Maintaining his broken harmonicas, managing the tuning neccesary for certain classical works and communicating with other musicians, composers and harmonica players worldwide, takes up the rest of his time.

In addition to James Moody, several other contemporary composers start paying closer attention to Franz Chmel and they begin writing for him:

Walter Breitner...Siciliano madrimombascubiscayano
Karl Haidmayer...Romaneasca Nr.10 for Harmonica (arranged).
Friedolin Dallinger... Suite for harmonica und piano
J. evening in the mountains
J. Geworkian.......Concert for Harmonica and piano

A part of this works you will find on his next released CD.

2000 the third record is labeled "Classic Harmonica Vol 1"

 2003 in February Franz Chmel plays as the first

harmonica virtuoso a cycle with the Wiener Solisten in worldfamous Musikverein at Vienna and at St. Pölten. This chamber orchestra is made of the first musicians of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.
It is a milestone in history of the Classic Harmonica.

Classic Harmonica Vol.1

Starcellist Franz Bartolomey withFranz Chmel

 2003 am 27.Februar Franz Chmel receives the

Jakob Prandtauer Award
of the capital of Lower Austria, St. Pölten

"Als a solist and teacher  Franz Chmel has represented St. Pölten very often and so far he' is a very important part of the identity of the town."
 (excerpt of the laudatio)

".......I am very proud, not so much because of my performance, but that I was able to achieve this with the harmonica.."
(Franz Chmel's reaction on the news)

The Target ?

Franz Chmel recounts

Franz Chmel is dedicated to achieving a world-wide appreciation for the Classical Harmonica, which he feels will bring a wider acceptance of the full potential of this greatly underated and often neglected instrument.

> A step in this direction will be to make his experiences of the past years accessible for each harmonica player.

This is to contribute to abbreviating the learning process for new generations of players, particularly when maintaining and improving the instrument and also when it concerns blowing techniques.

This website is dedicated to this target