The Winner is … PAUL KÜPPERS

The winner of the YOUNG JAZZ TALENT AWARD 2023 . PIANO ONLY was chosen on March 31, 2023 in the Jazz Schmiede, Düsseldorf.


The presentation by 22-year-old Paul Küppers took place in an excellent competitive environment, so the jury's decision was correspondingly close. Paul was able to win over the majority of the voices because of his self-confident, traditionally jazz-oriented, virtuosic and technically excellent playing, his consistently clean rhythm and his very good interaction with the band.

in 2023 Paul is studying in his sixth semester at the HfMT . College of Music and Dance. Cologne – Bachelor's degree »Music . Jazz / Pop« with lessons from Prof. Hubert Nuss and Prof. Niels Klein. He is the band leader of the group PKIII and has appeared as a sideman with the Frederik Hesse Quintet and the fusion band M.E.I.N.E.R. 

In the fall of 2023 - from September 27th to 30th, 2023 - Paul Georg Küppers will perform with his band in Bielefeld, Cologne, Düsseldorf and Oldenburg as part of the »concert tour of the winner«.



Young Jazz Talent Award

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.

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 focus is on the piano as one of the most important, style-defining instruments in jazz and pop music ... »PIANO ONLY«. The competition among the nominated pianists took place on  31 March 2023 in the "Jazz Schmiede . Düsseldorf". The winner's tour is scheduled for September 27-30, 2023.

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 again 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 the fall of the competition year 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 the candidates, the pre-selection was initially limited to jazz pianists studying in North Rhine-Westphalia. Prof. Thomas Hufschmidt, »Folkwang University of the Arts . Essen” and Prof. Hendrik Soll, “University of Music and Dance . Cologne« each suggested two suitable candidates as renowned trainers in the region, who were nominated for the competition after they had met all the necessary requirements.