Jazz is an essential part of musical culture. During its more than one hundred years of development, jazz has constantly produced new styles and has become a globally dominant form of popular music, which it continues to play a decisive role in shaping. Jazz musicians are characterised not only by a high degree of virtuosity in mastering their instruments, but also by a special talent for improvisation. In Germany, an independent jazz culture of international significance has developed since the 1960s with prominent artists such as Albert Mangelsdorff, Klaus Doldinger and Till Brönner.

Young Jazz Talent Award 2023


The promotion of young jazz talents in German-speaking countries is a special concern of the initiators of the YOUNG JAZZ TALENT AWARD. In 2022, the "Ringbeck Foundation" established the Award 2022: Young, not yet established jazz musicians between the ages of 16 and 23 are to be given special support in their career development. Each year, the focus is on a selected instrument.

In 2022, the focus was on the drums ... "DRUMS ONLY". The winner was Merlin Hellenkamp. He studies at the Folkwang University of the Arts in Essen Werden - Bachelor course "Jazz Performing Artist Drums" with lessons from Prof. Thomas Alkier and Sperie Karas. At 18, he was the youngest of four nominated drummers and showed himself to be an exceptional talent among the younger drummers in North Rhine-Westphalia. In autumn 2022, Merlin and his band completed their concert tour of jazz clubs in Dortmund, Cologne, Berlin and Düsseldorf in front of enthusiastic audiences.

In 2023, the piano takes centre stage ... "PIANO ONLY". It is one of the particularly important, style-defining instruments in jazz and pop music. The competition among the nominated pianists is planned for 31 March 2023 in the "Jazz Schmiede . Düsseldorf".

The concept of the YOUNG JAZZ TALENT AWARD was jointly developed by Jürgen Ringbeck, Chairman of the Ringbeck Foundation, and Peter Weiss, Spiritus Rector of the Düsseldorf jazz scene and musical director of the "Jazz Schmiede . Düsseldorf". Special thanks go to the professors responsible for the nominations, the members of the jury, as well as the "Jazz Schmiede Düsseldorf" and the other German jazz clubs involved.

The YOUNG JAZZ TALENT AWARD 2023 is endowed with 5,000.00 €. The award is specifically intended for young, not yet established jazz musicians. The award winner is expected to have a special mastery of his/her instrument, musical interaction, playful creativity and improvisational talent. A concert tour with his/her own band will be organised for him/her in four renowned German jazz clubs in the autumn. The prize money will be used for the realisation of this tour.


The procedure of the competition in 2023  In order to simplify the selection process, but at the same time ensure a high quality of candidates, the pre-selection will initially be limited to jazz pianists studying in North Rhine-Westphalia. Prof. Thomas Hufschmidt, "Folkwang University of the Arts . Essen" and Prof. Hendrik Soll, "Hochschule für Musik und Tanz . Cologne", as renowned trainers in the region, each propose two suitable candidates who, after fulfilling all the necessary requirements, are nominated for the competition.