“Encounters – Begegnungen – incontri” was the motto of the 30th anniversary edition of the Südtirol Jazzfestival Alto Adige. The last note faded away on Sunday evening, so it is time for a résumé. Festival chairman Klaus Widmann is pleased with the outcome of the event. Those ten days saw innumerable encounters of more than 20,000 spectators, hundreds of musicians, many new faces, old acquaintances and a variety of sounds. And again it was a platform for different opinions. “The festival has turned into a lively meeting point for the international, European and national jazz scenes.”
For festival chairman Klaus Widmann the most important conclusion is that the Südtirol Jazzfestival Alto Adige is gaining importance on an international scale and that both musicians and friends of jazz are seeking to be part of it. “In other words: Every year we are counting more and more visitors to our concerts. This year they were more than 20,000. But what is more important to me is that the audience has become more attentive and more curious, ready to venture into new music experiences”, said Widmann. One sign for that growing awareness are the concerts taking place in inns and refuges, both in the mountains and the valleys. “More and more people go there in order to listen to the concerts. They are therefore not there by chance, listening to music while they’re sipping their beers, but the other way round.”
The majority of concert-goers come from South Tyrol, but the number of visitors from Germany, Austria, the rest of Italy and other countries is growing steadily. According to Widmann this shows that the festival’s international layout is constantly gaining ground.
Widmann received a lot of positive feedback, also from the audience at the concerts. This festival offered many unprecedented line-ups and commissioned works that were attentively listened to. “Frequently commissioned opuses are rather complex pieces in which the composers want to develop the theme fully and show all their potential”, said Widmann about the works commissioned by Alois Lageder and the Jazzfestival, namely “The Imprint” and the festival hymn “Encounters in the mountains” by Gerd Hermann Ortler. Such adventures are extremely important for the festival. “In our programme we are trying to offer a very wide spectrum of music for many different listeners. New, complex pieces must be part of this programme and are of great importance to the international audience”, explained Widmann, who prefers this approach to presenting a standard programme. From this point of view an artist with a standard repertoire is hardly special enough to give the festival the profile it requires.
Therefore quality comes first. It is a main criterion for the selection of artists and music contents. “There could be no worse for a festival – even if it had plenty of visitors – than being superficial. Thus it is so important to us to strive for the highest possible quality”, said Widmann. For him personally the highlights of the 30th festival edition were the opening concert “Encounters”, the commissioned opus “The imprint”, the concert with Francesco Bearzatti and Louis Sclavis and the duo performance of Andreas Schaerer and Bänz Oester. “But in fact I liked every single concert”, admits the chairman.
Again the festival was hosted by dozens of different locations throughout South Tyrol: concert halls, streets and squares, castles, museums, wineries, mountain refuges, inns, workshops and banks. For the organisers this meant a lot of work, but it simply is one of the aspects that make the Südtirol Jazzfestival Alto Adige so special. “In this way we also offer our audience a special view of South Tyrol, which lends the festival its unique charm“, underlines Widmann and thanks all partners and collaborators for their invaluable support.
Last but not least we would like to take the opportunity and announce the concert “Bollani & Young Friends” on 9 August at the Auditorium Haydn in Bozen/Bolzano – a joint project by the Südtirol Jazzfestival Alto Adige and the Busoni Festival.