EJN Awards

The 10th EJN Award for Adventurous Programming goes to Jazzfest Berlin

We are very happy to announce the winner of the EJN Award for Adventurous Programming 2021: Jazzfest Berlin in Germany, presented by the Berliner Festspiele. The Award, this year reaching its 10th edition, is bestowed each year by the Europe Jazz Network (EJN) to a European promoter who succeeds in creating visionary and fascinating musical programmes for the audience.

The Award winner was selected through a two-phase process: in the first step all of the 160+ EJN member organisations from 34 countries were asked to indicate a potential award winner (not necessarily an EJN member). Later on, a selected jury of EJN members and other respected music professionals in Europe met online in March 2021 to choose the winner out of the resulting list of 17 nominated festivals, clubs and concert venues.

Comment from the Award Jury 2021: “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!“

The 2021 Jury was composed by: Pelin Opcin (Serious/EFG London Jazz Festival, UK), Antonis Zouganelis (Athens Technopolis Jazz Festival, Greece), Sofia Jernberg (artist, Sweden), Christine Stephan (JAZZTHETIK magazine, Germany), and the previous winners from last year: Christoph Huber (Porgy & Bess, Austria) & Jan Ole Otnæs (Victoria-Nasjonal Jazzscene, Norway).

Nadin Deventer, Artistic Director of Jazzfest Berlin, commented: “We are very honored 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.’’

All concerts of Jazzfest Berlin 2020 are still available online at the following link: http://www.berlinerfestspiele.de/jazzfest-en 

EJN Award for Adventurous Programming 2021 ceremony
For the first time, the Europe Jazz Network (EJN) announced the winner of its 2021 Award for Adventurous Programming at a dedicated live online event on Wednesday 14 April 2021. The event was chaired by EJN President Wim Wabbes (Handelsbeurs concert hall, Belgium) and involved Nadin Deventer, Artistic Director of Jazzfest Berlin (Germany), two representatives from the jury of this year, Pelin Opcin (Serious/EFG London Jazz Festival, UK) and Jan Ole Otnæs (Victoria-Nasjonal Jazzscene, Norway), and video contributions from some great artists that developed special projects for the festival in the recent years: Mary Halvorson (US), Alexander Hawkins (UK), KIM Collective (Germany), Rob Mazurek (US), Julien Desprez (France) and Jason Moran (US).

You can still watch the award ceremony including the contributions from the artists here:



Following the announcement, the winner of this year will also be celebrated at the European Jazz Conference in Tallinn, Estonia, taking place between 16-19 September 2021, and at next edition of Jazzfest Berlin taking place between 4-7 November 2021.

About the EJN Award for Adventurous Programming
Each year, since 2012, EJN the Europe-wide association of promoters, presenters and organisations who specialise in creative music, contemporary jazz and improvised music, awards an European promoter who exemplifies the values of EJN and skilfully succeeds to create visionary and fascinating musical programmes for the audience.

Previous winners of the EJN Award for Adventurous Programming have been: Victoria-Nasjonal Jazzscene in Norway ex-aequo with Porgy and Bess in Austria (2020), JazzFest Sarajevo in Bosnia & Herzegovina (2019), Jazz Festival Ljubljana in Slovenia (2018), Tampere Jazz Happening in Finland (2017), Manchester Jazz Festival in the UK (2016), Moers Festival in Germany (2015), Jazz em Agosto in Portugal (2014), Bimhuis in the Netherlands (2013) and 12 Points Festival in Ireland (2012).

In addition to the Award for Adventurous Programming, EJN established two other awards: the EJN Award for “Music & Community” (first edition in 2018), highlighting outstanding projects of social inclusion through jazz and creative music, and the “Zenith Award for Emerging Artists” (first edition in 2019) in collaboration with 12 Points Festival.