Jazzfest Berlin wins EJN Award for Adventurous Programming 2021

The Europe Jazz Network has just announced the winner for its 2021 Adventurous Programming award, the award’s tenth year, writes Juliette Kay

A screenshot from the 14 April 2021 Awards Ceremony

The process behind selecting the winner was in two stages. The first step was that all 160+ EJN member organisations from 34 countries were asked to select a potential winner. The second step, a 6 person jury of EJN members and other music professionals from Europe gathered online in March 2021 to choose the winner.

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The 2021 Jury was:

  • Pelin Opcin (Serious/EFG London Jazz Festival, UK)
  • Antonis Zouganelis (Athens Technopolis Jazz Festival, Greece)
  • Sofia Jernberg (artist, Sweden)
  • Christine Stephan (JAZZTHETIK magazine, Germany)
  • Christoph Huber (Porgy & Bess, Austria 2020 Winner)
  • Jan Ole Otnæs (Victoria-Nasjonal Jazzscene, Norway, 2020 Winner)

A member of the jury commented: ‘Jazzfest Berlin is the perfect choice for the 10th EJN Award for Adventurous Programming. It is one of the oldest jazz festivals in Europe and yet it has been able to innovate itself, striving to break musical and cultural boundaries. This included engaging with a younger generation of organisers and artists, experimenting with new fruition spaces and commissioning innovative musical projects. Three years ago it appointed a young woman as artistic director – the first in its history – and in the year of the pandemic it created a fantastic programme in several locations including a live “musical bridge” between Berlin and New York, reminding us about the importance of collaboration and exchanges at a time of acute isolation. These are the traits of a festival that is not afraid to take risks and push its limits- just as jazz and creative music should do!‘.

Nadin Deventer joined the online event to receive the award on behalf of JazzFest Berlin. She commented on being awarded with the accolade for the 2020 Festival, her third as its Artistic Director.

We are very honoured and truly happy to receive this unique award which we consider to be a precious recognition from our peers, from colleagues across the whole European continent and beyond. Thank you all so much for your support, inspiration and friendship throughout all these years of change and challenges. Festival work is teamwork, and I’d like to thank all of our colleagues of the Berliner Festspiele and our partners for their great engagement and trust in our adventures. And last but certainly not least I’d like to thank our fantastic musicians for going on this journey with us, for their enormous creativity, musicianship and commitment in shaping their wonderful projects and creating those overwhelming moments that leave you – again and again – speechless. Very soon, we will be able to come together again within our international, sparkling and traveling community of artists, audiences, journalists and organizers to celebrate the beauty and power of music‘.

During the event, various artists across the world gave video contributions congratulating Deventer. Many artists commented on the vision and ethos behind JazzFest. Alexander Hawkins commented that JazzFest is an environment where ‘vision, egalitarianism, accessibility‘ can be found. Jason Moran noted that JazzFest was founded in 1964, and that Dr. Martin Luther King sent a speech when the festival opened and how the civil rights movement at the time was instrumental in informing the activism behind JazzFest.

LINK: All concerts of JazzFest Berlin 2020 are available to view online HERE

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