Jazz Heroes and musical High Flyers

25th Münster International Jazz Festival from January 9 to 11, 2015

The MinAfric Orchestra with Louis Moholo and the Tippetts with an homage to Nelson Mandela. Photo: Rocco Lamparelli.

Jazz heroes, rising stars of the new generation, musical high flyers, jazzmen relevant to Westphalia – the 25th Münster International Jazz Festival, hosted by the Cultural Office of the City of Münster, promises contemporary jazz in its aesthetic variety and musical diversity from January 9 to 11, 2015. At the same time, this anniversary edition of the festival pays homage to musicians who performed at the very first festival in the summer of 1979.

And Fritz Schmücker, who has been the festival’s artistic director for 30 years, remains true to his very own programmatic principles in 2015 as well: He relies on the “Who is Who” of the unknown jazz combined with well-known names, and it is this high-contrast mixture which has become so unmistakably characteristic of the Münster festival. Nearly half of the concerts with musicians from 15 different countries are German premieres.

In its continuity, Münster’s jazz festival ranks among the top events in Germany. According to Dr. Andrea Hanke, this is not least due to the festivals numerous sponsors. “They keep reliably faith with the festival”, the Councilor for Culture stresses. “This is one of the best examples for the lively cultural commitment in this city.”

36 years ago, Jasper van’t Hof was on stage at Münster’s first jazz festival, which was initiated by the General Students’ Committee and then still open-air inside the castle garden. In January 2015 van’t Hof returns to the festival with a world premiere:  The 67-year-old pianist and keyboarder is going to perform for the first time together with the German trumpet player Markus Stockhausen and the French drummer Patrice Héral as a trio.

The final concert stands for the dialogue between musical traditions from different cultures. Pino Minafra, who performed at the festival in 2005 with his celebrated project “Banda & Jazz”, travels 2015 with a 19-member ensemble. The legendary drummer Louis Moholo joins them from Cape Town as well as the two jazz icons Keith Tippett and Julie Tippetts from Great Britain. All together, they introduce their latest project “For Mandela” in Münster, an homage to Nelson Mandela, who was released from prison nearly 25 years ago.

Jazz Heroes and Rising Stars

“Jazz heroes” – the French bassist and band leader Didier Levallet is one of them. His quintet “Voix Croisées” joins two generations. He brings his congenial partner and drummer François Laizeau as well as the French jazzwomen Airelle Besson, Sylvaine Hélary, and Céline Bonacina along. Trumpet player Besson gives a second concert in the Kleines Haus – together with Sebastian Sternal (piano) und Jonas Burgwinkel (drums). Céline Bonacina – currently one of the most popular jazz saxophonists – introduces herself a second time together with her sextet “Réunion” in the Grosses Haus.

One of the musical high flyers is Marius Neset. The Norwegian saxophonist currently takes the European stages by storm. He is not even thirty years old, but he already is considered to be the greatest Norwegian jazz talent since Jan Garbarek in the 1960s. In Münster, he performs in a septet lineup. One of the most prominent Slovenian jazz musicians is the saxophonist Vasko Atanasovski from Ljubljana. He performs with his multi-national Balkan-ethno jazz septet. Another Scandinavian performs in a quintet lineup: the bassist and cellist Lars Danielsson. His new project “Liberetto II” plays melodious compositions from Europe’s north.

Münster’s jazz festival is a platform for young surprises as well. Two examples: The english trumpet player Laura Jurd, not even quite in her mid-twenties, makes her Germany debut in Münster. Greek pianist Nikolas Anadolis, who is the same age and has already won several renowned prizes, comes to Münster for one of his first performances in Germany.

Local Jazz und Westphalia Jazz Award

Despite his international focus, Fritz Schmücker also incorporates local jazz into the program. “Camatta Monk” is one example. The drummer Simon Camatta performs together with the clarinetist and saxophonist Florian Walter, the saxophonist Julius Gabriel, and the Italian trumpet player Flavio Zanuttini. They jumble venerable compositions by Thelonius Monk thoroughly. Festival goers from 2013 might still remember the furious Monk-finale. Second example: The Münster-born Michael Schiefel, whose adopted home town is Berlin, is awarded with the Westphalia Jazz Award 2015, which is sponsored by the Imorde Projekt- und Kulturberatung. For his concert, the exceptional vocalist chose the renowned American vibraphone player David Friedman to join him.

Not to forget: The family concert on Sunday. Children of five years and upward go together with Christoph Bäumer (Theater Don Kidschote) and the „BigBand Dorsten“  with their director Stephan Schulze on a musical anniversary tour. The title is: “Happy Birthday!  Vom Geburtstagsmuffel zum Partylöwen.”

Commitment of the Festival Partners

In addition to the City of Münster, the General Students’ Committee of the university and the Theater Münster are cooperation partners of the festival. The WDR undertakes the recordings of the concerts and broadcasts live from the festival on Saturday from 08:05 p.m. on. Sponsors of the festival are: The official festival hotel Parkhotel Schloss Hohenfeld, LVM (insurance company), Andante (youth welfare service organization), Münstersche Zeitung (newspaper), Pianohaus Micke (specialty shop for pianos), M4-Media (advertising agency), Autohaus Krause (car dealer), and ReiseArt Lufthansa City Center (travel agency). Also: the Initiative Starke Innenstadt Münster (ISI). During the jazz festival, the shops in Münster’s city center are open on Sunday (January 11) from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.


Pre-sale started Saturday, November 15, 2014, at 10 a.m. at the box office of the Theater Münster, Neubrückenstraße, Tel. +49 (0)2 51 59 09-100, or online:

Information on the festival’s program:

A festival of partners:

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