Jazzfest Berlin 2020

Jazzfest Berlin 2020 is a platform for musicians from around the world. Over the years it has enjoyed particularly close links with musicians from the USA. In this year full of social challenges and political unrest – and only a few days after the presidential election in the US – Jazzfest Berlin will build upon this transatlantic dialogue in defiance of the Coronavirus crisis and place the creative centres of New York and Berlin at the heart of its 57th edition.

With Haus der Berliner Festspiele being currently under renovation, the festival will take place for the first time at silent green Kulturquartier this year. Organizing an international music festival in times of the pandemic, the festival team has been relying for months on improvisation as one of the core competences of jazz, thus building temporary bridges, searching out creative bolt holes in spaces between the analogue and digital worlds and, following the model of Sun Ra, sending musical signals out into space towards cosmic crossover with other art forms and hitherto unknown cultures.

This hybrid live format will be complemented by the online video platform Jazzfest Berlin Off Stage. In light of the shortage of performance opportunities during lockdown, the festival commissioned video statements from interdisciplinarily working musicians in order to open up artistic perspectives on political and social events during the crisis both on this side of and beyond the Atlantic. The videos will be released in the run-up to the festival on the online platform Berliner Festspiele on Demand.

Finally, in the Jazzfest Berlin Radio Edition the festival will intensify its decades-long partnership with the German public service radio ARD to dedicate a festival within the festival to the remarkable diversity of jazz in Germany – ranging from state-of-the-art European interpretations of the tradition to local artists crossing genre boundaries. A series of regional ensembles, each selected together with individual broadcasters throughout ARD’s national network, will present eight studio concerts – some of which will have a small, live audience – to be heard on the radio throughout Germany and seen online by video stream anywhere in the world.

Jazzfest Berlin is adopting new forms in 2020 in order to continue making the creative music scene accessible to as large an audience as possible.

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