BMW Welt Jazz Award 2019: “Saxophone Worlds”.

Munich. The eleventh edition of the BMW Welt Jazz
Award will celebrate the variety of “Saxophone Worlds”. As in previous
years, jazz lovers will be invited to six Sunday matinee concerts
offered free of charge from January to March 2019. Iconic in the jazz
world, the Saxophone in many guises will take centre stage during this
year’s competition. Six outstanding international ensembles showcasing
the instrument will interpret this year’s theme “Saxophone Worlds” in
the double-cone structure at the BMW Welt. The participating musicians
come from Estonia, Germany, France, Norway, Poland, Switzerland, the
UK and the USA. The final of the BMW Welt Jazz Award, which decide the
winners of the prize money totalling 15,000 Euro, will be held on 4
May 2019, in the auditorium of the BMW Welt.

The saxophone, star of the BMW Welt Jazz Award 2019, was invented in
1840 by the Belgian musician Adolphe Sax. While potentially useable in
a traditional symphony orchestra, the saxophone was mainly designed to
shine in military bands. However it was in the 1920s that the
saxophone finally got its big break, when early jazz musicians
discovered its dynamic, highly variable sound. The saxophone rapidly
became the most important melodic instrument of jazz music and
continues to be so to this day.

In a total of six BMW Welt Jazz Award matinees the ensembles will
have the opportunity to impress audiences with their interpretations
of “Saxophone Worlds”. Following the final matinee in March, an expert
jury will select two ensembles to perform at the final concert held in
the auditorium of the BMW Welt, where the winner of the BMW Welt Jazz
Award 2019 will be announced. In addition to prize money of
10,000 Euro, the winning ensemble will receive a trophy designed
specially by BMW Design. The runner-up will receive 5,000 Euro. In
addition, the audience’s overall favourite ensemble will receive the
audience award, which includes a performance at a concert held at
resort Schloss Elmau.

Dieter Reiter, Mayor of Munich, said, “I believe this year’s BMW Welt
Jazz Award will be truly exciting for both longstanding fans and
first-time visitors of this high-quality series of concerts, as only
few instruments are as emblematic of jazz as the saxophone, with its
unique and very versatile sound. In addition, together with his
bigband Jazzrausch, Roman Sladek will be the first winner of the BMW
Welt Young Artist Award to perform at the evening concert to be held
in the double-cone as a prelude to the six matinee shows. Once again,
I would like to thank BMW AG for their continued and lasting
commitment to the arts, especially this outstanding series of concerts
which, to top it all, is offered free of charge.”

Dr Nicolas Peter, BMW AG Management Board member, said, “The language
of jazz is universal. Its crown jewel is improvisation, which makes it
possible to express the entire range of human passions and
emotions and transcend cultural boundaries. I am excited to see
exactly how the bands will interpret the theme “Saxophone Worlds” –
the BMW Welt offers the perfect acoustic conditions for jam
sessions such as theirs. I would like to thank our partners of many
years, especially the City of Munich, which made the BMW Welt Jazz
Award possible again in 2019.”

The upcoming year will also see the fourth edition of the BMW Welt
Young Artist Jazz Award, which is offered in co-operation with the
City of Munich. Young jazz musicians and ensembles who come from
Munich or its surrounding area are eligible to apply. As previously
seen with award winners Josef Reßle, Roman Sladek and Martin Brugger,
the jury members of BMW Welt Jazz Award will decide on the level of
support granted to the applicants.

BMW Welt Jazz Award 2019

Opening concert on 17 January 2019, at 7 pm in the double-cone
of the BMW Welt:

As a prelude to the Sunday matinees and for the very first time in
the history of the competition, a concert will be held on the evening
of 17 January 2019, to launch the BMW Welt Jazz Award
2019. The concert will feature the winner of the BMW Welt Young Artist
Jazz Award 2017, Roman Sladek. Admission will be free, doors will open
at 6 pm.

Sunday matinees from 11 am to 1.30 pm in the double-cone of
the BMW Welt:

27 January 2019        Maciej Obara Quartet

3 February 2019        Céline Bonacina Crystal Quartet

17 February 2019      Géraldine Laurent Quartet

24 February 2019      Matthieu Bordenave Trio

10 March 2019          Maria Faust Group

24 March 2019          Rudresh Mahanthappa Quintet

The matinees are offered free of charge; however, seating is
limited and cannot be guaranteed. Doors open at 10.30 am.

Final concert in the auditorium of the BMW Welt at 7 pm:

4 May 2019                Final concert featuring the two shortlisted finalists

Tickets for the final concert will go on sale on 27 January 2019, at
the BMW Welt and München Ticket.

As in previous years, the event will be hosted by Beate Sampson,
Editor of the jazz desk at German broadcasting station Bayerischer
Rundfunk BR‑KLASSIK.


The distinguished panel of expert jurors will be headed by
Oliver Hochkeppel (Music and cultural affairs
journalist, Süddeutsche Zeitung) and will include the following members:

Roland Spiegel, Editor and jazz expert at German
broadcasting station Bayerischer Rundfunk BR‑KLASSIK

Andreas Kolb, Editor-in-chief of and
neue musikzeitung

Heike Lies, Musicologist, Music and Music Theatre
Division of the Department of Cultural Affairs of the state capital Munich

Christiane Böhnke-Geisse, Artistic Director of the
international jazz festival “Bingen swingt”.

Artists and ensembles

27 January 2019: Maciej Obara Quartet

37-year-old Polish alto and tenor saxophonist Maciej Obara is one of
Europe’s most significant jazz musicians. After his trio won the
prestigious competition for emerging jazz bands in Bielka Zadymka in
2006, Obara took the international jazz scene by storm with his debut
album “Message from Ohayo”, published the following year. Touring with
American saxophonist Antoine Roneyi, he caught the attention of
Manfred Eicher, head of the renowned label ecm, who helped place him
in Tomasz Stanko’s band. With his sixth album “Unloved”, Obara
celebrated his bandleader debut at ecm in 2017. For the BMW Welt Jazz
Award his lyrical, colourful sound and breath taking technique will be
accompanied by fellow countryman Dominik Wania on the piano and two
Norwegian musicians, bassist Ole Moretn Vagan and drummer Gard Nilssen.

3 February 2019: Céline Bonacina Crystal Quartet

From a purely visual perspective, Céline Bonacina stands out among
her colleagues – the petite Frenchwoman plays the mighty baritone sax.
Following her classical saxophone training at the conservatories of
Belfort, Besançon and Paris, Bonacina quickly identified it as her
instrument of choice and went on to play with various Parisian big
bands from 1996. In 1998, she moved to the island of La Réunion, a
French overseas department in the Indian Ocean, where she worked as
lecturer at the conservatory for seven years. The local music
traditions of that island continue to influence Bonacina’s music to
this day, especially with regards to rhythm. After her return to
Paris, she caused a stir with her debut album “Vue d’en Haut” released
in 2005, and Bonacina subsequently won various awards and went on to
play alongside important figures of the Parisian scene as well, as
international stars including Omar Sosa, Mike Mainieri, Nils Landgren,
Nguyên Lê and Gwilym Simcock. At the BMW Welt, she will present her
current quartet with pianist Leonardo Montana, bassist Chris Jennings
and drummer Asaf Sirkis.

17 February 2019: Géraldine Laurent Quartet

As the daughter of a music and art teacher, Frenchwoman Geraldine
Laurent was not only surrounded by music from a very early age, she
also came to understand music as an integral part of an
all-encompassing aesthetic whole. Laurent began playing the piano
before turning to the alto saxophone, which she studied at the
conservatory of her home town of Niort, from 13 years of age. She made
a point of acquiring a comprehensive overview of jazz traditions,
which in turn led to her becoming a much sought-after accompanist of
artists including Antoine Hervier, Aldo Romano and singer Romeyn Adams
Nesbitt. Starting in 2005, Laurent became famous in France for her own
projects. In 2006, she won the “Django d’Or” for best emerging artist
and the “Prix Révélation” at the jazz festival at Antibes. Featured on
the title page of the New York Times in 2007, she went on to win the
“Prix Django Reinhardt” in 2008, and all of her albums have won
numerous awards. Her album “At Work” is no exception and Laurent will
be presenting it at the BMW Welt Jazz Award, together with pianist
Paul Lay, her long-time partner bassist Yoni Zelnick and drummer
Donald Kontomanou.

24 February 2019: Matthieu Bordenave Trio

Delicate modern jazz on the saxophone coupled with Mediterranean
undertones can indeed come out of Munich. Admittedly, it is created by
a native Frenchman: 35-year-old Matthieu Bordenave began studying
classical and jazz saxophone in Annecy and Paris before coming to
Munich’s conservatory for his master’s degree. Bordenave quickly
became an integral part of the Munich jazz scene. With his bands Le
Café Bleu and Grand Angle he published widely acclaimed jazz
adaptations of chansons by Edith Piaf as well as folk songs and
nursery rhymes of his childhood. In his latest project “Terre de
Sienne” Bordenave, who is synaesthetic, sets music to his personal
experience of colours. At the BMW Welt, he will present his new trio.
Celebrating his trio’s debut at renowned label ecm, Bordenave will be
joined by Shinya Fukumori on the drums and pianist Florian Weber, whom
long-standing fans of the Award may recognise, as he and his trio
Minsarah were part of the very first edition of BMW Welt Jazz Award.
Today, Weber is one of Germany’s most successful jazz pianists and lecturers.

10 March 2019: Maria Faust Group

One of the discoveries of the past festival summers is Estonian
saxophonist and composer Maria Faust. This 39-year-old musician
completed her classical training at Tallinn’s conservatory in 2001,
before concentrating on jazz and moving to Denmark. She finished her
saxophone studies in Esbjerg in 2008, but continued to study
composition at the renowned Rytmisk Musikkonservatorium in Copenhagen
until 2016. During this time, Faust made an impression with bands and
projects such as the Jazz Catastrophe Bigband, the electro-acoustic
ensemble Pistol Nr. 9 and the Maria Faust Group, which she will
present at the BMW Welt. With its unusual orchestration – featuring
Maria Faust on the alto saxophone, Ned Ferm on the tenor saxophone ,
Ida Nørholm on the cello, Jacob Anderskov on the piano and both Nils
Bo Davidsen and Adam Pultz Melbye on the bass – the ensemble creates
astonishingly subtle sounds that transcend genres and incorporate an
enormous range of influences from traditional folklore and workers’
songs to experimental improvisation and sounds of from nature.

24 March 2019: Rudresh Mahanthappa Quintet

Numerous awards are testament to Rudresh Mahanthappa being one of the
most creative and innovative jazz artists of the younger generation.
As such, the most important American critics’ surveys voted him alto
saxophonist of the year for four years running from 2010 to 2014. This
son of South Indian immigrants grew up in the USA and was interested
in jazz and saxophones from an early age. At Berklee College of Music,
he met Indian saxophonist Kadri Gopalnath, who introduced him to
Carnatic music. An amalgamation of complex rhythmical structures and
modern jazz, Mahanthappa’s characteristic style shines through whether
he accompanies David Murray, Tim Hagans and Danilo Perez, plays as
part of a duo with pianist Vijay Iyer or performs in any of his own
various projects and bands. At the BMW Welt Jazz Award, Mahanthappa
will be revisiting his successful album “Bird Calls” together with
guitarist Rez Abbasi, pianist Bobby Avey, bassist Francois Moutin and
drummer Rudy Royston.

This edition of BMW Welt Jazz Award will once again enjoy the
generous support of BR‑KLASSIK, nmz, resort Schloss Elmau and the
Department of Cultural Affairs of the City of Munich.


For further questions please contact:

Prof Dr Thomas Girst
BMW Group Corporate and Governmental
Cultural Engagement


Doris Fleischer
BMW Group Corporate and Intergovernmental
Cultural Engagement


Cypselus von Frankenberg
BMW Group Corporate and
Intergovernmental Affairs
BMW Brand, Marketing,




About BMW Group Cultural Engagement

For almost 50 years now, the BMW Group has initiated and engaged in
over 100 cultural cooperations worldwide. The company places the main
focus of its long-term commitment on contemporary and modern art,
classical music and jazz as well as architecture and design. In 1972,
three large-scale paintings were created by the artist Gerhard Richter
specifically for the foyer of the BMW Group’s Munich headquarters.
Since then, artists such as Andy Warhol, Jeff Koons, Daniel Barenboim,
Jonas Kaufmann and architect Zaha Hadid have co-operated with BMW. In
2016 and 2017, female artist Cao Fei from China and American John
Baldessari created the next two vehicles for the BMW Art Car
Collection. Besides co-initiatives, such as BMW Tate Live, the BMW Art
Journey and the “Opera for All” concerts in Berlin, Munich, Moscow and
London, the company also partners with
leading museums and art fairs as well as orchestras and opera houses
around the world. The BMW Group takes absolute creative freedom in all
its cultural activities – as this initiative is as essential for
producing groundbreaking artistic work as it is for major innovations
in a successful business.

Further information:


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