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Jazz At Berlin Philharmonic

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The return of a legend:

In 1944, the notorious American jazz impresario Norman Grantz (1918 – 2001) had a vision: He wanted to anchor the uniqueness and virtuosity of improvised music deep in society, enable the musicians to garner the rank and recognition that they deserved, and create something entirely new by spontaneously combining different styles and approaches in unexpected ensembles. There could only be one place to make this plan a reality – a classical concert hall: "Jazz at the Philharmonic" was born.

Currator and Producer Siggi Loch picked up Grantz' idea and founded together with the Stiftung Berliner Philharmoniker Jazz at Berlin Philharmonic: The programme is the star. The aim of the concert series is to bring together different musicians in a way that has never been seen or heard before, with one thematic focus.

The programme is the star at “Jazz at Berlin Philharmonic”. The aim of the concert series, curated and produced by Siggi Loch, is to bring together different musicians in a way that has never been seen or heard before, with one thematic focus. On 13 February 2015, the eighth edition at the sold out Kammermusiksaal saw the spotlight focus on the accordion, an instrument that is all too often misunderstood and still an outsider in classical and jazz music, despite pioneering talents such as Astor Piazolla and Richard Galliano.

Vincent Peirani, one of the stars of the evening who “expertly modernises” the instrument (3sat Kulturzeit), initially underestimated the scope of sounds and opportunities for musical development that the accordion offers: “As a boy I always wanted to learn the drums. The accordion was an instrument for grandparents, but my father made me learn it […]. Not until I had learned to play Mendelssohn and Bach on it did I realise how versatile an instrument it is, and then I adopted it - or it me …”

The classically trained accordionist Klaus Paier is an adventurous sonic explorer, who creates an intoxicating mix of jazz, classical, Musette and world music, alongside cellist Asja Valcic – in a nutshell: “Eurojazz at its best” (Der Spiegel).

Connecting the unexpected: Surprising, unusual artistic encounters can produce magical moments, and for this evening, Siggi Loch initiated two duos that had never played together before. Firstly, Régis Gizavo, an autodidact accordionist who learned his trade on the streets and in the bars of Madagascar, teams up with guitarist Nguyên Lê, a musician renowned for his fusion of world music and jazz. Secondly, Stian Carstensen, well known for his pioneering multi-style band “Farmers Market”, joins forces with the Polish violin wizard  Adam Bałdych. Vincent Peirani was voted “The Discovery of the Year 2014” in France (Victoire du Jazz), is considered by Fono Forum as a “one in a century talent”, and the FAZ newspaper recently wrote that “Peirani can do almost anything on an accordion”. Alongside the saxophonist Emile Parisien he forms a dream team that was awarded the ECHO Jazz 2015 as best international ensemble performance (2014’s “Belle Époque”).

Astor Piazolla's “Libertango” tops off the “Accordion Night”. Interpreted by all of the artists together, this is a rendition of the eternal classic that has definitely never been heard in this way before. And so it is that another memorable and celebrated “Jazz at Berlin Philharmonic” is brought to a magnificent conclusion.