The Press Article


Four young jazz talents compete against each other.

Jazz Schmiede, Düsseldorf ... on the evening of March 31, 2023 ... the club is once again full to the last seat … it's the evening of jazz piano talents. Four young musicians competed to win the YOUNG JAZZ TALENT AWARD 2023 - this year »piano only«.

The winner is … PAUL KÜPPERS.

The 22-year-old Paul Küppers was able to win the majority of the jury's votes 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. His presentation consisted of two of his own compositions - Setbacks and Out of the Shadows -, as a third contribution he played Arthur Schwartz's Alone Together.

Paul is in his sixth semester studying at the HfMT in 2023. 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.

The audition, the selection of the prizewinner and the award ceremony took place on March 31, 2023 with a public event in the »Jazz Schmiede . Dusseldorf«. Together with the backing band (Reiner Witzel, saxophone, Oliver Lutz, bass, Tim Dudek, drums), each candidate played three pieces of music (modern, standard and ballad) of their choice.

The award winner was chosen by a competent jury, the members of the backing band and the audience present, and the award was presented on the same evening.

The selection of the award winner by a competent jury, the members of the backing band and the present audience was followed by the award ceremony on the same evening.

More than 120 guests came together in the Jazz Schmiede this year and experienced a great evening with the lectures by the highly talented music students from the Folkwang University of the Arts. Essen and College of Music and Dance. Cologne. Jona Hahn, Paul Küppers, Nicholas von der Nahmer and Noah Reis Ramma were nominated, all of whom presented themselves as outstanding pianists and had no problems getting used to the backing band.

Martin Sasse, lecturer for pop keyboard and jazz piano at the Institute for Music and Media at the Robert Schumann University in Düsseldorf, member of the jury: "It was a great pleasure to listen to the four pianists. Insanely talented, young, creative and full of joy in playing, I was impressed. The result was so close and ultimately not quite fair, because all four were extremely good for their age. The stylistic range was large, which also made the decision difficult. Ultimately, however, Paul Küppers was the most convincing in terms of harmonic and melodic depth. A lasting evening, also because of the great audience and the great organization of the Jazz Schmiede. Thanks to all of you!!!"

The winner Paul Küppers can look forward to his YOUNG JAZZ TALENT CONCERT TOUR this autumn - with concerts in renowned jazz clubs in Bielefeld, Cologne, Düsseldorf and Oldenburg. If you want to be there... the dates have already been set:

27.09.2023  >>> Bunker Ulmenwall . Bielefeld
28.09.2023  >>> Loft . Köln
29.09.2023  >>> Jazz Schmiede . Düsseldorf
30.09.2023  >>> Wilhelm 13 . Oldenburg



The YOUNG JAZZ TALENT AWARD in its 2nd year.

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

In 2022, the focus was on the drums ... »DRUMS ONLY«. The winner was Merlin Hellenkamp. He is studying at the Folkwang University of the Arts in Essen Werden - Bachelor's degree »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 »Love – Pure Jazz« through jazz clubs in Dortmund, Cologne, Berlin and Düsseldorf in front of an enthusiastic audience.

In 2023, the focus will be 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 March 31, 2023 in the »Jazz Schmiede. Dusseldorf«. The winner's tour is scheduled for September 27-30, 2023.

The concept of the content of the YOUNG JAZZ TALENT AWARD was jointly developed by the board of the »Ringbeck Foundation« Jürgen Ringbeck and Peter Weiss, the spiritus rector of the Düsseldorf jazz scene and musical director of the »Jazz Schmiede . Düsseldorf« developed. Special thanks for the support in the implementation go to the professors responsible for the nominations, the members of the jury, as well as the "Jazz Schmiede Düsseldorf" and the other participating German jazz clubs.

The YOUNG JAZZ TALENT AWARD 2023 again is worth €5,000.00. Young, not yet established jazz musicians are particularly encouraged. The award winner is expected to have particular mastery of his/her instrument, musical interaction as well as playful creativity and talent for improvisation. A concert tour with their own band in four renowned German jazz clubs will be organized for them in the autumn of the competition year. The prize money will be used for the realization of this tour.

The course 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.


  • Martin Sasse . Internationally renowned jazz musician . Professor for piano
  • Kristina Brodersen . Renowned jazz musician on the saxophone
  • Jürgen Ringbeck . Initiator and Organiser YOUNG JAZZ TALENT AWARD . Jazz enthusiast
  • the accompanying band of the pianists in the "Jazz Schmiede . Düsseldorf" on the evening of the competition
  • the audience of the "Jazz Schmiede . Düsseldorf" on the evening of the competition

For further information s.



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