NEWS: German Head of State signals approval of Richard Williams’ 3-year contribution to Berlin Jazz Festival

German President Steinmeier speaking at the JazzFest Berlin
concert/ reception, with his wife Elke Büdenbender.
Photo published at http://www.bundespraesident.de without copyright restriction 

It is not every day that a Head of State signals out the director of a jazz festival for special praise, and yet that was what President Frank-Walter Steinmeier of the Federal German Republic chose to do to mark the third and last JazzFest Berlin under the Artistic Directorship of Richard Williams, confirming the strong sense that his stewardship has indeed been a success – and above all a renewal.

This was in fact the second jazz event of the year to be held at the President’s official residence, Schloss Bellevue in Berlin. The artists performing were: Julia Hülsmann (solo piano), Empirical, with bassist Andreas Lang replacing the prior-committed Tom Farmer (ON VIDEO HERE), and a specially-formed trio of Lucia Cadotsch, Kit Downes and Lucy Railton.

President Steinmeier prefaced his speech by saying that a second jazz event in a year will have surprised nobody who knows him well…

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“…because they know that I truly am a huge jazz fan. But over and above this personal passion, for me it is precisely that jazz is a form of music which brings  together the most diverse artists. It combines musicians with very different musical origins, who nevertheless can make music together. And it is often from the most unanticipated combinations that something very special can emerge.”

And as regards the director, the key section of Steinmeier’s speech was this:

“In the last three years Richard Williams has contributed with his successful work to reinforcing the great reputation of Jazz Fest Berlin and to the fact that its fame has grown and continues to grow. I would therefore like to take this opportunity to thank you, dear Richard Williams, and express our collective gratitude to you this evening.”

 LINK: Full text of President Steinmeier’s speech in German

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