An outstanding edition of the European Jazz Conference 2018 ends in Lisbon



The European Jazz Conference 2018 ended on Sunday 16 September marking an absolute record in attendances: 348 registered delegates from 40 countries in Europe and beyond (including USA, Brazil, Argentina, Australia, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia).

For four consecutive days, professionals from the music sector including promoters, festival directors, artists and label managers, representatives from national/regional support organisations, booking agents, researchers and journalists met in the beautiful Centro Cultural de Belém (CCB) in Lisbon to network and discuss some of the most important issues concerning our common work in the jazz and creative music field.

The theme of this year’s conference was ON THE EDGE. This was developed in a number of sessions covering the links between geography and artists’ creativity in the keynote speech by Maria João, an insight into the relations between Portuguese jazz and the wider European context in a panel debate with musicians, promoters, researchers and label managers, the role of music and technology as tools for investigating the universe and some inner truths about ourselves in the keynote speech by Kelly Snook, and a panel debate on the future of the music industry following some strong technological innovations in the coming years. A number of discussion and working groups also covered more practical issues for those who work in the music industry, such as the need to expand it in other markets beyond Europe, new marketing trends and opportunities through digital tools, audience development and music strategies for cities’ development and some updates in the researches being undertaken in the field of jazz.

In addition, a showcase festival of events during the conference days presented to international delegates some of the most interesting ensembles now in the jazz scene in Portugal: Susana Santos Silva’s IMPERMANENCE, Bode Wilson Trio, AXES, Pedro Melo Alves’ Omniae Ensemble, Quarteto Beatriz Nunes, TGB and others in the fringe programme in the evenings.

In the formal Europe Jazz Network (EJN) General Assembly on Thursday 13 September, network members voted for two new members of the Board of Directors: Martyna Markowska from Katowice JazzArt Festival (Poland) and Sunna Gunnlaugsdóttir from Reykjavik Jazz Festival (Iceland), and elected the new President of the Association for the next two years. Jan Ole Otnæs, Managing Director from Nasjonal jazzscene – Victoria (Norway) was unanimously elected as new President.

Born in Mo i Rana a small Norwegian town just below the Arctic Circle, Jan Ole’s career as a jazz promoter started in 1969 when he presented Keith Jarrett Trio and Arild Andersen/Karin Krog in his hometown. After studying at the University in Oslo, he moved to Bodø where he was active in the local jazzclub and member of the program committee for Molde International Jazz Festival from 1983. He has been chairman and member of the Board of Norwegian Jazz Federation for 27 years. He is Chairman for a Committee in the Arts Council Norway and a Board member of the Arts Council. Jan Ole became the first Director of Bodø Kulturhus, a new - two venue performing space in Bodø in 1991. He was asked to take over as Artistic Director of Moldejazz in 2001, a position he had until August 2013. In August 2013 he took over as Managing Director of Nasjonal Jazzscene – Victoria, a 300 capacity venue in Oslo presenting around 150 concerts per year with a variety of emerging acts and national/international artists. He has been member of the EJN Board for four years.

In the role of EJN President Jan Ole succeeds Ros Rigby, who in the last four years with her strong commitment and energy has deeply contributed to the growing and strengthening of EJN as one of the key cultural networks in Europe. For these reasons Ros Rigby has been appointed by the new EJN Board as honorary member of EJN.

The European Jazz Conference was co-organised by Europe Jazz Network (EJN), Associação Sons da Lusofonia and the Centre Cultural de Belém, with the support of the Municipality of Lisbon, Lisbon Tourist Association, Visit Portugal, Meetings in Portugal and of the Creative Europe programme of the European Union, that is supporting EJN through its network strand for the period 2017-2021

Photo: (c) Andreea Bikfalvi | Sons da Lusofonia