Founded in 2005, the Harbois Duo, initially evolved from the German wide education project for young concert artists ("Bundesauswahl Konzerte Junger Künstler"). This exciting Duo was established by the principal Oboe of the Essen Philharmonic Orchestra, Sandra Schumacher, and Johanna Welsch: principal Harp of the Beethoven Orchestra Bonn.
Both the Harp and the Oboe are rarely heard as solo instruments. To experience them in this fascinating combination is unique. Together these two charismatic musicians unite the characteristic supple fluidity of the oboe with the silken radiance of the harp. Even the name of the ensemble reflects the harmonic fusion of both instruments, in its use of the french words for Harp and Oboe:
In concert, the Duo Harbois entrances its audience again and again with its exceptional sound. Critics have praised the distinguished qualities of the Duo: "With the perfect Mastering of their instruments and their great ensemble playing, both Musicians fascinate their audition from the very beginning till the furios final". Both Musicians are members of prestigious german orchestras and are also very active as soloists. In the Harbois Duo, they combine their skills as soloists with sensitivity of playing chamber music.
They persuade with authentic interpretations and charismatic joy in performance.
The repertoire of the Harbois Duo contains many interesting original compositions. They also perform (partially their own) arrangements of more famous pieces from baroque until contemporary music, which promise an interesting, unusual auditory sensation.
The communication of diverse and interesting information regarding the instruments and the life and works of the composers being performed serve to enhance the concert going experience and to strengthen the connection between the artists and their audience.
The Harbois Duo performed at many prestigious festivals and concert series in Germany. There are numerous recordings for well- known broadcasting organisations, such as WDR.
began studying the harp at the age of 6, and ten years later was accepted into the class of Ragnhild Kopp- Mues at the "Richard Strauss Conservatorium" in Munich as a "young student". From 2002 until 2007 she studied at the "Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler" in Berlin under the mentorship of Prof. Maria Graf, and then undertook further studies with Prof. Christina Bianchi at the "Hochschule für Musik und Theater" in Munich, graduating with a Master of Music in 2010.
Johanna Welsch has been a prize winner in various international competitions, including the German Harp Competition and was awarded the first prize in the Italian "Rovere d'oro" International Harp Competition.
She began working as an orchestral musician during her tertiary studies, with a contract for the duration of the 2004/05 season, as a Principal Harp of the Duisburg Philharmonic Orchestra. Johanna Welsch was a member of the German Youth Orchestra ("Junge Deutsche Philharmonie") and has performed with many professional German orchestras. She has been in her current position as Principal Harp of the Beethoven Orchestra Bonn since 2007.
As well as performing both as a soloist and in the orchestra, Johanna Welsch has a profound interest in chamber music. She is a founding member of both the Duo Impression (with flautist Mariska van der Sande) and the Duo Harbois.
began learning the oboe at the age of 13. From 2002 she attended the "Hochschule für Musik und darstellende Kunst" in Stuttgart, where she studied with Prof. Ingo Goritzki and graduated with honours in 2007. The following year was spent in Geneva, furthering her musical education in the Soloist class of Prof. Maurice Bourgue.
During her studies, she was awarded scholarships from both the german academic scholarship foundation ("Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes") and from the "Villa Musica" foundation. In 2006 she was given the "Gerd- Bucerius scholarship" of the "ZEIT"- foundation by the "Stiftung Musikleben". Sandra Schumacher has been a prize winner in numerous international competitions, including the "Crusell Oboe Competition" and the "Richard- Lauschmann- Competition". She was awarded a scholarship for soloists by the "Deutscher Musikwettbewerb" in 2005 and in the same year was chosen as one of the 50th German selection of young concert artists ("Konzerte Junger Künstler").
As an orchestral musician, Sandra Schumacher has achieved much recognition, starting out as member of the "Bundesjugendorchester" and the German youth orchestra ("Junge Deutsche Philharmonie"), then progressing on to a professional career, first with a years contract as Principal Oboe in the "Badische Staatskapelle Karlsruhe", followed by a fixed position as associate Principal Oboe in the Stuttgart Philharmonic Orchestra in 2007. In 2010 she won her current position of Principal Oboe of the Essen Philharmonic Orchestra ("Essener Philharmoniker").
As Principal Oboe, Sandra Schumacher has performed with prominent orchestras such as Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, Stuttgart State Orchestra and Bamberg Symphony Orchestra.
As Soloist, she performed with Munich Chamber Orchestra, "Klassische Philharmonie Bonn", Essen Philharmonic Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra Stuttgart.