2014 EJN Award Winner

The EJN Award 2014 has been announced at the jazzahead! expo in Bremen, Germany on Saturday April 26th 2014 12:30 at Oslo meeting room / Maritim Hotel, Bremen.

The EJN Award for Adventurous Programming 2014 goes to the Jazz em Agosto, Lisbon

The jury of independent jazz experts and EJN representatives unanimously agreed to give the EJN Award for Adventurous Programming 2014 to Jazz em Agosto, Lisbon, produced by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.

Following the second EJN Award in 2013, of which the worthy recipient was Bimhuis, Amsterdam, the third award goes to a long-established festival which for the 30 years since its foundation has led the way in programming adventurous Jazz in Europe.

In time, a festival develops its own character, a distinctive style that’s compounded of place, programming and audience. Lisbon's Jazz em Agosto may be defined in part by the singularity of its physical setting, benefiting from Lisbon’s consistently warm, sunny summer weather. Nightly concerts take place in the outdoor amphitheatre, set in a park that blurs the line between forest and garden.

Jazz em Agosto is produced by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, a Portuguese private institution whose statutory aims are in the fields of arts, education, science and charity.
Established for over 50 years, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation stands out as one of the most important European foundations undertaking a vast range of activities both in Portugal and internationally ; ranging from implementing its own projects, in partnership with other entities, or through the awarding of grants and subsidies. The Foundation runs delegations in Paris and London, the cities in which Calouste Gulbenkian lived.

At its Lisbon headquarters, the Foundation not only provides a Museum, a Modern Art Centre and an Art Library but also runs an Orchestra and Choir that perform throughout the year within the scope of its international music season, the Gulbenkian Música, in which Jazz em Agosto is included. Gulbenkian Música promotes different music series such as Great Interpreters, Piano, Early Music, World Music and MET Opera Live HD, among many others.

Jazz em Agosto started in 1984 and a year later it began to develop an international character with an emphasis on adventurous music. The concerts soon featured Sun Ra and his Arkestra, Steve Lacy, The Art Ensemble of Chicago, Cecil Taylor and Ornette Coleman.

In the following decades the Foundation has continued sponsoring music at the cutting edge, insisting that jazz is a dynamic form that can continually redefine and renew itself. Jazz em Agosto has programmed the following musicians and ensembles among many others: Han Bennink, Misha Mengelberg, Hamid Drake, Peter Brötzmann, Joe Morris, Ken Vandermark, Mats Gustafsson, Henry Threadgill, Wadada Leo Smith, Marilyn Crispell, Barry Guy, Evan Parker, Julius Hemphill, George Lewis, Paal Nilssen-Love, Otomo Yoshihide, Alexander von Schlippenbach, Rova:Orkestrova — Electric Ascension, Muhal Richard Abrams, Joëlle Léandre, Fred Frith, Lawrence D. ‘Butch’ Morris, Exploding Star Orchestra feat. Bill Dixon, Sunny Murray and Matthew Shipp.

For its 30th anniversary in 2013, Jazz em Agosto presented the roots of free jazz with Pharoah Sanders, major figures of contemporary music Anthony Braxton and John Zorn, and ambitious projects from young musicians like The Thing XXL and trumpeter Peter Evans' Septet. The Foundation also published a volume commemorating 50 artists from those three decades, Arrivals/Departures: New Horizons in Jazz. It is, according to writer Wolfram Knauer, "an exemplary overview of avant-garde improvised music, an excellent introduction to music that reinvents itself again and again"- something like Jazz em Agosto itself.

Comments from members of the Award Jury included:
The festival has a strong identity, developed over the course of three decades.
Always books great artists and is now a significant festival in the history of European jazz.
A good example of an imaginative initiative from a Private Cultural Foundation.
A fantastic and unique open air venue in the gardens of the Gulbenkian Foundation - what a lovely place to enjoy good music!


Rui Neves, Artistic Director of Jazz em Agosto, comments:
After celebrating the 30th edition of Jazz em Agosto in 2013, we were delighted to receive the news of the Europe Jazz Network award for 2014, for which I am very grateful.
It would only be right to highlight the vital role of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, a private foundation in Lisbon whose statutory principles are Art, Charity, Science and Education.
The Jazz em Agosto festival is one of the axes of the programming for Gulbenkian Music whose international season, besides the Gulbenkian Choir and Orchestra, includes guest artists and ensembles that contribute to various cycles of performances, ranging from early music to contemporary opera and to new music theatre.
My role as artistic director of Jazz em Agosto has been to present in concert important musicians from the Contemporary History of Jazz.
Restless musicians who constantly take on challenges for themselves and to the expressive possibilities of the music.
Musicians who have no afraid to subvert the idea that tries to confine Jazz to predetermined limits, who never forget that what best defines this type of music is exactly the feeling of freedom, improvisation and risk.
So I am very proud to once again express my thanks for the Adventurous Programming in European Music Award, and we shall do our best to live up to it in the next edition of Jazz em Agosto.