Guido Rückel

Guido Rückel joined the Munich Philharmonic as principal timpanist in 1997.

Timpanist Guido Rückel

My thoughts about being a timpanist

Being a timpani player means to be present in musical and physical way, being always noticed by every member of the audience and the ensemble, being responsible for finding the correct balance, the perfect rhythm, the best sound color, the appropriate choice of which kind of timpani and sticks are required…

Being a timpani player means to be a soloist in the orchestra while downsizing your ego to a team player, rather being wrong together with the others than being right the only one, helping anybody else if your help is needed…

Being a timpani player means to be the second conductor, to produce more sound colors than anybody else, being able to be the softest … and the loudest, sitting on top of the orchestra … it’s simply the best job in the world!


Guido Rückel was born in 1971 in Düsseldorf and grew up in Berlin, Germany.
He attended the College of Arts in Berlin (teachers Thomas Lutz and Hans Ulrich), and continued his studies as an apprentice with the Berliner Sinfoniker.

The concert season 1996/97 he was awarded a stipend for the Karajan Academy of the Berlin Philharmonic, his teachers at that time where Rainer Seegers and Franz Schindlbeck.

In 1997 he became principal timpanist of the munich Philharmonic under James Levine. He also performed with the Bayerische Staaatsoper, Bavarian Radio Orchestra, Hessen Radio Symphony Orchestra, North German Radio Philharmonic, Super World Orchestra (Japan), Philharmonica Arturo Toscanini (Italy) and more.

Guido Rückel worked, among others, with Lorin Maazel, Zubin Mehta, Mariss Jansons, Christian Thielemann, Riccardo Muti, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Kent Nagano and Franz Welser-Möst.

Guido Rückel is also working for the Schleswig Holstein Musik Festival, teaching in the university of Augsburg and is giving masterclasses focused on Beethoven, Bruckner, Brahms and Mahler.

My Timpani

Hardtke Berlin Classic with classic heavier bowls.

  • Five sizes in cm: 78-72-65-65-60 cm
  • (31″ 28″ 25,5″ 25,5″ 23,5″)

Why I play Hardtke Timpani

For my opinion timpani by Wolfgang Hardtke are simply the best instruments build nowadays. Grown up in Berlin, the timpani-sound of this city always was the sound of Günther Ringer-timps, and Wolfgang’s instruments are the only ones coming close to this sound of the so called “romanische Orchesterpauke”.

I am playing Hardtke timpani since 2006, the sound and the high class workmanship are inimitable. The rich soundcolor, resonant volume and enormous range of each timpani enthuses me every day

My Mallets

Mallets I am playing: Breier, Kato, Kappert, Miyazaki, Rosenthal and Weisserth, Bamboo shaft.

Timpani Heads

I am playing on Kalfo heads all the time, only on open air concerts I am using Renaissance heads.