Klassik meets Jazz with Nils Landgren
July 25, 2019 20:00

Konzerthaus, Berlin

Helge Schneider

Patron of the Evening

Nils Landgren

© MUTESOUVENIR | Kai Bienert

Nils Landgren is doubtlessly one of Europe’s most successful jazz musicians. Fans and observers of the 62-year-old Swede are already wondering whether his days might have more than 24 hours. Critics have nominated him as the hardest working man in show business. When “Mr. Redhorn,” the man with the red trombone, is not touring with his legendary band Funk Unit or other projects bearing his name, he works as a producer and talent scout or is found passing his know-how on to his students. In the German capital, he has made a name for himself as the artistic director of the JazzFest Berlin. It is not least his versatility which is admired in this musician, who began playing drums at the age of six and discovered the trombone for himself at 13: apart from hardcore jazz, he is devoted to Swedish folk music – or he might record romantic and idiosyncratic Christmas songs, as he did on his album Christmas With My Friends. In cooperation with Doctors w

ithout Borders, Nils Landgren’s Funk Unit supports a music education project for children and teenagers in one of the largest slums of Kenya’s capital city of Nairobi. After leading the successful “Classic meets Jazz” projects at Young Euro Classic for five years running, Nils Landgren returns in 2019 for its sixth edition.




The South African singer Lira – or Lerato Molapo – is one of the most successful musicians in her home country, winning the SAMA (South African Music Award) no less than eleven times. The artist herself describes her style as a “mix of soul, funk, a little bit of jazz and African music”. In total, she has released six highly successful albums, from Feel Good (2006) and Soul in Mind (2008) to Return to Love (2011) and her latest studio album Born Free, which came out in 2016. Lira has also performed in many other African countries, e.g. Ethiopia, Egypt, Kenya, Ghana and Sierra Leone. Tours have taken her to Europe, where she has performed in Great Britain, France, Spain and Germany. In the USA, Lira is one of the jurors on the CBS music show The World’s Best; she also had the honour of performing during the second inauguration of Barack Obama in Washington DC in 2010.



Tini Thomsen

Born in Hamburg in 1981, Tini Thomsen studied jazz saxophone and classical bass clarinet at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam, specializing on composition and arrangements in her master’s degree. She has composed and arranged for everything from string quartets to the renowned Dutch Metropole Orchestra, as well as the NDR Bigband, Hessischer Rundfunk Bigband, Norrbotten Bigband and the Jazzbaltica Allstar Ensemble, which she led in her own music during its 2017 opening concert. She has written for and performed with the Amstel and Aurelia Saxophone Quartets, Remy van Kesteren and Norah Fischer. In 2016 she won the GEMA Music Author’s Prize in the jazz and crossover category. This was preceded by the Jazzbaltica Encouragement Award and the Bujazzo Composition Price and others. She has released three CDs with her own band, MaxSax. As a big band leader, she has toured with a jazz version of Peter and the Wolf commissioned by Nils Landgren in Germany and Sweden, as a saxophonist with Cro, Dr. John, the NDR Bigband with Al Jarreau and with Nils Landgren’s Funk Unit.


Saxophone, Arrangements

Ebba Åsman

Ebba Åsman was born in 1998 and attended a special music school in Stockholm before studying at the Royal Music Academy in Stockholm. She then enrolled in jazz trombone studies in Rotterdam which she still continues. At the age of 14, she won the classical music competition “Polstjärnepriset”. Even as a teenager, she performed all over Sweden in big bands and jazz formations, including the Ekdahl Bagge Big Band, das ASJO Ann-Sofi Söderqvist Jazz Orchestra, the Håkan Broström New Places Orchestra and the Blue House Jazz Orchestra under the leadership of Magnus Lindgren and Peter Asplund. Renowned venues she has played at include clubs such as Fasching in Stockholm and Nefertiti in Gothenburg. Since studying in Rotterdam, she has also performed at festivals in Den Bosch, Rotterdam and Amersfoort, as well as the Ystad Jazz Festival and the Visby Jazz Festival. Her musical partners include Swedish pop stars such as Eric Saade and Tjuvjakt. Her debut album will be released by Stockholm Jazz Records in September 2019. 


Christin Neddens

Christin Neddens studied percussion in Germany, the Netherlands and the USA (where her teachers included Peter Erskine and Jeff Hamilton at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles). The young drummer has been invited to various (inter)national festivals, for example the Big Band Festival Imatra in Finland, the Standard Bank Jazz Festival in Grahamstown in South Africa, the Port Townsend Jazz Festival in the USA and the festivals Überjazz, Open Jazz and Elbjazz in Germany. As a freelance musician and composer, she can also be heard in many cross-genre projects. Christin also writes for her own fusion band “Christin Neddens’ Orange Line” and is one of the protagonists of the Hamburg-based jazz-rock large ensemble “Operation Grand Slam – the cinematic sound orchestra”. In the summer of 2018, Christin Neddens played in the band of Carolin Kebekus’ TV show Pussy Terror TV, a production of ARD and WDR. During the past months, she has performed at festivals in Ukraine, Jordan, Togo (West Africa) and the USA. Christin Neddens endorses Yamaha Drums, Meinl Cymbals and REMO Drum Heads.


Nhlanhla Daniel Mahlangu

Nhlanhla Daniel Mahlangu began his musical career as a clarinettist in the big band of a local music school. At the age of 15, he switched over to saxophone, soon being accepted in the teacher’s band of his high school. In addition, Mahlangu performed in local jazz clubs. Ever since, he has played regularly with South African musicians such as Freya Fake, Don Lake, Dr Abdullah Ibrahim, Africa Mize and Maltase Malala, but also with prominent Americans such as Yosef Lateef and Rufus Reid. 


Brandon B-Bae Ruiters

Brandon “B-Rae” Ruiters’ love for music goes back to his local church; he received his education as a classical trumpet player at the College of Music of the University of Cape Town (UCT) where he performed as a solo trumpet player both in the big band and the symphony orchestra. In the meantime, he has performed with great names such as Jimmy Dludlu, Jonathan Butler, Emo Adams and the Mike Campbell Big Band, and has also performed in their CD productions. Furthermore, Brandon has developed special pedals for his trumpet, which have contributed to his special reputation as a “one-man horn section”. 


Siya Makuzeni

© Hlulani Hlangwane

She is many things in one, the South African trombonist Siya Makuzeni: vocalist and music producer, arranger, songwriter. She is also the bandleader of the Siya Makuzeni Sextet and of the crossover rock band IppYFuzE. In 1997 she first held a trombone at the Stirling High School in East London, South Africa; she subsequently studied at the Rhodes University and the Pretoria Technikon Music School. Ever since, she has toured the entire world and has performed with artists such as David Murray, Jacky Terrasson and Branford Marsalis. Apart from her own album Out Of This World with her own sextet, she has written songs for many colleagues. In 2013 Siya Makuzeni received the Mbokodo Award for Women in Jazz. 


Sibusiso Lerole

Under his artist name Big Voice Jack Jr, Sibusiso Lerole is the most well-known player of the penny whistle – apart from his father, Big Voice Jack. His father was also his only teacher, and he has performed alongside him from an early age onwards at a multitude of events, including in the 2000 anti-Apartheid film Amandla by the American director Lee Hirsch. The MIAGI founder Robert Brookes invited him to appear with orchestra musicians in the children’s TV show Blue Couch. Big Voice Jack Jr. mixes Kwela Music with jazz, Hip Hop and classical sounds. In 2010 he also performed at the final ceremony of the Football World Cup in South Africa. 

Penny Whistle

Viwe Mkizwana

Viwe Mkizwana began playing the double bass at the age of 17. In 2008 he enrolled at the Thwande University of Technology, from which he graduated with a diploma in jazz and popular music. Later he also acquired a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Pretoria. After many years as the principal bass player of the MIAGI Orchestra, Mkizwana regularly performs with the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra, the KwaZulu Natal Philharmonic Orchestra and the Gauteng Philharmonic Orchestra. He has performed with numerous prominent South African jazz musicians. Mkizwana currently teaches double bass at the Pretoria High School for Girls and at the UNISA Music Foundation. 

Double Bass

Musawenkosi Mdluli

Musawenkosi Mdluli received his first piano lessons at the age of nine, playing for his local church community. He later gathered further experience at South Africa’s most important jazz festivals. Mdluli currently studies at the Tshwane University of Technology, which is one of the largest educational institutions in South Africa with six different campuses. As part of his activities on behalf of the MIAGI Orchestra, Mdluli has also given workshops on South African jazz. 


6:30 pm “Why jazz and classical music meet so rarely”
In cooperation with the Max Planck Society at the Werner-Otto-Saal
Accompanied by the pianists Felicitas Eickelberg (classical interpretation) and Julia Kadel (improvisation)
Free admission with concert ticket.
Speaker: PD Dr. Daniela Sammler, Max Planck Institute for Cognition and Neurosciences, Leipzig
Moderator: Anne Kussmaul
The language of this event is German


This year, jazz legend Nils Landgren meets musicians of the MIAGI Youth Orchestra from South Africa. For the sixth time, he brings young musicians to Berlin to rock the Konzerthaus with them. Join us for the grooving rhythms of this mix of jazz, African folklore and classics! We guarantee there won’t be a foot in the house that’s not tapping along…


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