Trio Heinz Herbert from Switzerland awarded the first EJN Zenith Award for Emerging Artists in the framework of 12 Points Festival



12 Points Festival was held this year at the iconic Bimhuis venue in Amsterdam between 25-28 September 2019. A jury of European promoters nominated by the Europe Jazz Network (EJN) were in attendance to appraise the 12 acts and select a winner for the inaugural Zenith Award for Emerging Artists, bestowed annually by EJN in association with 12 Points.

Trio Heinz Herbert from Zürich, Switzerland, were selected as the winners of the the first Zenith Award, based on criteria which included a strong originality in sound, music and performance, a high level of instrumental ability, a strong stage presence and future potential for an international career. The Trio’s exploratory aesthetic centres on their collective intensity of expression. With traces of '70s free jazz psychedelics and particles of contemporary club culture, this electronics-infused trio’s almost telepathic interplay is all about feel, colouration and texture. Pro Helvetia, the Swiss Arts Council, has already identified Trio Heinz Herbert as a high priority ensemble and awarded them with a public grant to strengthen their international presence. The Trio have performed at some renowned festivals and venues such as JazzFest Berlin (2018), Unerhoert! Festival in Zürich (2018), Stadtgarten in Cologne (2019), Tallinn Music Week (2019) Jazz Festival Willisau (2017), Cully Jazz Festival (2016) and will now be further propelled onto the international stage through the Zenith Award.

The choice of winner was particularly difficult given the high quality level of all projects and the vast diversity of sounds and ensembles that was present at 12 Points, with bands coming from Poland, Spain, England, Finland, Austria, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Switzerland, France, Norway and Belgium. After a detailed discussion on each performance, the jury was unanimous in its final decision.

The following statement was issued by the jury about the first award winner: “We are thrilled to present the inaugural Zenith Award to Trio Heinz Herbert. The jury felt that this dynamic Swiss trio delivered a superb live set which was boundary pushing, energetic, intense, and musically striking. In addition, they possess an arresting musical aesthetic which captivated the audience at the BIMHUIS. As a jury we believe that Trio Heinz Herbert’s exploratory and inventive approach to live music communicates a robust voice of the next generation of creative European improvisers, and we look forward to seeing them perform across Europe and beyond.”

The jury for the first Zenith Award was composed by: Pierre Dugelay (Le Périscope, France), Annamaija Saarela (G Livelab Tampere, Finland), Trude Storheim (Vossa Jazz, Norway), Wim Wabbes (Handelsbeurs, Belgium), Edin Zubcevic (JazzFest Sarajevo, Bosnia Herzegovina) and Kenneth Killeen (Improvised Music Company, Ireland).

Trio Heinz Herbert commented in this way the news of the Award: “Wow - What a blast! It is a great honour for the band to be the inaugural recipients of the Zenith Award. We want to thank to all the 12 Points team for uniting 12 bands and so many participants from different European cities over 4 days. In this sense, we see the award as a great opportunity, and responsibility, to share the experience of listening more closely, of connecting new ideas and to celebrate adventurous, creative music”.

You can watch the full concert of Trio Heinz Herbert at 12 Points, together with all the other 12 Points bands of 2019, on Bimhuis TV:

For more info about Trio Heinz Herbert you can also check their website at: 

Trio Heinz Herbert  will now receive an outstanding prize of performances and promotional opportunities from among the EJN membership, including a prestigious showcase at the European Jazz Conference in front of over 300 music professionals from all over Europe and beyond in Sofia, Bulgaria (10-13 September 2020) as part of the showcase programme of the Conference.

EJN will also support at least 5 additional concerts inside the EJN membership through the Unstable Touring Network, setting up a communication and professional development strategy to promote the Zenith Award winners through its members and contacts and assisting in developing the winning act’s visibility and viability in the international arena.

About The Zenith Award
The Zenith Award shines a spotlight on one remarkable European ensemble or solo project working in creative jazz and improvised music, with the winner selected from the carefully curated 12 acts performing at 12 Points festival, all coming from different European countries.

The Award celebrates the ensemble’s ability to break musical boundaries while demonstrating an original approach to performance and a potential for a strong, ongoing international career. The name “Zenith Award” was adopted to reflect the level of excellence in the winning act, and its capacity to show a way forward for the future of creative music in Europe.

About 12 Points festival
12 Points is a dynamic festival of emerging European jazz established in 2007 by Dublin-based Improvised Music Company (IMC). The festival is nomadic, alternating between Dublin and other vibrant European cities. The 2019 edition took place in partnership with the prestigious BIMHUIS venue in Amsterdam from 25-28 September.

The 4 day festival presents 12 emerging acts from 12 different European countries. Over 600 young musicians from across Europe have performed at 12 Points since 2007. 12 Points is programmed each year by an open-call, with peer recommendations from jazz promoters and organisations across Europe. This exploratory approach to finding new talent earned 12 Points the inaugural Europe Jazz Network award for ‘Adventurous Programming’ in 2012. 

About Europe Jazz Network (EJN)
The Europe Jazz Network (EJN) was created in 1987 as a Europe-wide non-profit association with the mission to encourage, promote and support the development of jazz and creative improvised music within the European scene and to create opportunities for artists, organisers and audiences from all different countries to meet and communicate. Currently EJN includes 156 organisations (festivals, clubs and concert venues, independent promoters and national organisations) in 35 countries and is supported by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union through its network strand for the period 2017-2021.