The Award Winner 2022

The winner of the YOUNG JAZZ TALENT AWARD 2022 is ...



The winner of the YOUNG JAZZ TALENT AWARD 2022 . DRUMS ONLY was chosen on 31 March 2022 at the Jazz Schmiede, Düsseldorf.

At 18, Merlin Hellkamp was the youngest of the four nominated drummers and showed himself to be an exceptional talent among the younger drummers in North Rhine-Westphalia. His performance consisted of the pieces »My funny Valentine«, »Recorda me« and »Invitation«. Among the other excellent candidates, he convinced the jury with his very well-structured solo performance. In addition to his vituose and technically excellent drumming, he impressed the jury with his broad involvement in jazz and pop music, in which he is active as a composer and singer beyond his drumming.

Merlin is in his second semester 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.

In the Media Library >>> Recordings of the Competition Event


CONCERT TOUR OF THE WINNER In autumn 2022 - in the period 20 - 23.09.2022 - Merlin Hellenkamp and his band performed in Dortmund, Cologne, Berlin and Düsseldorf.

Merlin Hellenkamp - born in 2003 - grew up in a musical family and discovered the drums at the age of 5. So he was influenced early on by jazz, rock & pop music, musicals and theatre. Merlin played the musical Jesus Christ Superstar at the Burghofbühne in Dinslaken, accompanies various jazz ensembles from trio combo to big band, composes himself and is currently developing a theatre project together with the drama graduates at the Folkwang University of the Arts. He completed an internship with the WDR Big Band and is a student of Prof. Thomas Alkier at Folkwang University.




10.2021 . Start of studies at the Folkwang University of the Arts in Essen Werden - Bachelor's degree programme Jazz Performing Artist Drums, lessons with Prof. Thomas Alkier and Sperie Karas.


02.2020 . Rehearsal days at the ArtEZ in Arnhem/ Netherlands
02.2019 . WDR Bigband -Internship (2 weeks) in Cologne; Bob Mintzer et al.​​​​​​​
05.2018 . Workshop with Andy Gillman and René Creemers at the »drummers institute« Krefeld
04.2017 . one-day internship at Sonor​​​​​​​
02.2017 . one-day internship at the Drummers Institute in Krefeld



2022 . Theatre project at the Folkwang University of the Arts
2021 . Jesus Christ Superstar at the Landestheater NRW, Burghofbühne Dinslaken
2020 I 2021 . Exchange Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, Michigan
2020 . Original compositions in jazz and musicals
02.2020 . Audition with Thomas Haberkamp JJO NRW
01.2020 . Performances in cooperation with the Police Orchestra NRW
12.2019 I 01.2020 . Drummer for the school production of the musical "Der kleine Horrorladen" . Alan Menken, Howard Ashman
12.2019 . Workshop with the NRW State Police Orchestra . Performance of own composition
09.2019 . Initiator/ idea of an own JAZZ concert series in Alpen: PURE JAZZ (s. online dropbox) i. Amalien Cafe
02.2019 . Performances e.g. as part of the project course music at the Philharmonie Essen
01./09.2019 I 01.2020 . Drummer & musical director - amateur production of the musical "Jesus Christ Superstar" by Andrew Lloyd Webber . Feature Video
2019 . Percussion lessons with Jürgen Schuld
2019 . Drummer with the Luisenschule school jazz combo founded in mid 2019, including at the Mülheimer Schlitzohren charity event in September 2019, the Mülheimer Sportbund in the Stadthalle Mülheim and in Düsseldorf.
Admission to the Unijazzity Orchestra
03.2019 . Audition with Thomas Haberkamp JJO NRW
2018 . Drummer of the BigBand of the Luisenschule Mülheim
2018 . Two-week tour of the USA with the school big band . Performance with Mark Colby at the Jazz Showcase in Chicago .
09.2017 . 6 weeks visit to the Collège Descartes in Paris, France
Production of own songs on Youtube
2014 - 2016 . Drummer in the school band of the Heinrich-Heine-Gymnasium
Theatre participation in the school setting since grade 1 .
since 2014 . Drummer in the church band "dialog
since 2014 . Event technology AG at the grammar school
Film editing and camera for several school projects