The winners of the WDR Jazzpreis 2020 have been announced by the Cologne-based broadcaster. The annual awards concert will take place at Theater Gütersloh on 1 February 2020. The five winners are:
Shannon Barnett – Improvisation: The Australian-born, Cologne-based trombonist, who was a member of the WDR Big Band from 2014-2018 (see interview link below) becomes the first ever female winner of this prize which has been awarded since 2004. She was recently appointed to a full professorial chair at the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz in Cologne and is a Vincent Bach-endorsed artist.
Philip Zoubek – Composition: The Austrian pianist/composer with Polish roots will have his first opportunity to write for big band
Bassem Hawar – Musikkulturen (world music): Hawar was born in Baghdad in 1972 and has lived in Germany since the beginning of the 2000’s. He is a specialist on the djoze (website), an instrument he has also adapted to suit other styles including flamenco and contemporary classical music,
The Dorf und Umland – Ehrenpreis (honorary prize): This large ensemble (up to 25 players) led by Jan Klare has been in existence since 2006 in the Ruhrgebiet
Big Band of the Friedensschule in Münster – Nachwuchs (next generation) prize: This secondary school in Münster is celebrating 50 years in existence. Band director Dieter Niermann has been running a big band at the school since 1991.
Whereas in recent years, the annual prize concert has been part of a 3-day festival, we understand that this year’s concert will be a stand-alone event, although the Dorf and Umland will be performing the previous evening in the Domicil in the centre of Dortmund, their regular venue.
The process of selection has also involved a jury. The members were bassist/composer Hendrika Entzian and pianist Pablo Held, both former jazz prize-winners, Florian Funke of Jazzklub Krefeld, Anke Steinbeck of Jazzfest Bonn, writers Jörg Heyd and Babette Michel, Gütersloh’s head of culture Lena Jeckel, plus members of WDR 3 Jazz & World editorial team.