When Jazzhaus Freiburg opened more than 20 years ago, Miles Davis came and performed in the city to commemorate the event. Since that landmark inauguration, Soul Asylum, Dianne Reeves, Rammstein, Ice-T, Cassandra Wilson, Blood, Sweat & Tears, and Berklee  alumnus Al Di Meola are among the varied artists who’ve taken the stage at the prestigious venue.

Landing a gig here is no small feat. And yet last month, a handful of Berklee students studying at the Jazz and Rock Schulen did just that. Thanks to a relationship with the Goethe-Institut in Freiburg—which owns the Jazzhaus building and also hosts Berklee’s study abroad students in its dormitories—a concert series was launched in 2009. Marking the fourth iteration this spring, Jazz and Rock Schulen and Berklee students, along with Goethe-Institut musicians and performers from the International Club of Freiburg, gave a concert—dubbed “Around the World”—for more than 500 people on April 30,  which marks the German holiday Tanz in Den Mai (Dance into May).

Will Park, above, and Leah Dennis and Jordan Casty, below, perform at Jazzhaus Freiburg.

This week, a celebratory dinner was held at a local brewery to recognize the artists who participated in the collaborative event.

Celebrating the Jazzhaus concert at a local brewery

Angellika Ridder, director of the Freiburg Goethe-Institut, got the idea for the initial concert when Goethe students formed a band. She contacted Jazz and Rock Schulen because of the institute’s connection with the school and in short time, there were enough musicians for a concert program, the first of which was held in 2009.

“To play at the Jazzhaus is something very special,” says International Club leader Andreas Vögele.

“It’s great for our students. It’s very prestigious to get to play on this stage. Besides, it’s a big party,” says Isabel Schmidt, project manager for Jazz and Rock Schulen.

Berklee student Will Park gave two solo performances at the concert, an original and a Jason Mraz tune. “It was an amazing experience. It built my confidence,” he says.

Says Johanna Scharf, a Jazz and Rock Schulen student: “It’s always an exciting business to arrange an evening with people, who all have a different personal and musical background. To make music with people of different cultures is a special feeling and it’s awesome to experience how they express themselves in music.”

Lesley Mahoney
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