Otto Georgi

World Concertina Congress - WCC

Otto Georgi
Hall of Fame – 2023

Otto Georgi

Otto E. Georgi (1869-1937) emigrated from Chemnitz, Germany to the United States in 1892 and settled in Chicago, Illinois. With connections to the concertina manufacturing industry in Germany, he set out to sell the Lange Concertina to musicians in the Chicago area. Otto is thought to have been a key player in having the Lange Concertina featured as a musical instrument at the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893.

In 1902, Otto partnered with Louis Vitak to form Georgi & Vitak Music Company, which quickly became a popular retailer for sheet music and musical instruments in Chicago. Also in 1902, Georgi & Vitak engaged with Otto Schlicht and his associates to begin the manufacture of a range of high-quality musical instruments. These concertinas were sold by Georgi & Vitak under their brand name, Pearl Queen.

By 1924, Georgi ended his business partnership with Louis Vitak and Otto continued with his own business importing concertinas and bandoneons manufactured in Germany by Friedrich Lange. Some of these concertinas were sold under the Pearl King brand name in apparent competition with his previous partner Louis Vitak, who continued to sell the Pearl Queen concertina.

By the late 1920s, Georgi was working with Henry Silberhorn to actively promote the chemnitzer concertina by organizing performing groups like Georgi’s Chicago Concertina Club and publishing marketing materials like Silberhorn’s Booster for the Advancement of the Concertina. This public relations effort helped to make the chemnitzer concertina very popular and greatly increased the sale of all brands of concertina, including Georgi’s imported models. It also employed many people as teachers, import agents, manufacturers, retailers, and sheet music publishers. Up until his death in 1937, Georgi continued to make key contributions to the dramatic growth of the concertina in the early 1900s.

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