The BMW Welt Jazz Award 2015


Munich. The BMW Welt Jazz Award will enter its seventh season. During a total of six free Sunday matinees from January to March 2015, a selection of internationally renowned ensembles will be presented at the double-coned structure of BWW Welt following the motto “Playing my guitar.” The participating musicians originate from Israel, Austria, US, Switzerland, Italy, France and Denmark. The grand finale and the competition for the prize money of 15,000 Euro in total will take place on April 18, 2015 in the auditorium of the BMW Welt.


This year’s instrument of choice will be the guitar, a somewhat unusual instrument in the field of jazz. In a series of innovative live performances the artists will illustrate how the guitar is more than capable of playing an important role in jazz.

Maximilian Schöberl, Head of Corporate Communication at BMW Group, said: “We do not feel the seven year itch, on the contrary! The BMW Welt Jazz Award is a success story. Since 2009, over ten thousand listeners have been attending the matinees free of charge and were thrilled by the performances of international jazz ensembles. For 2015, I hope that the audiences will experience unique moments with this exciting motto.”

After the sixth and last matinee, a panel of expert jurors will nominate two of the ensembles to perform in the auditorium during the grand finale on April 18, 2015. In addition to a prize of 10,000 Euro, the winner will receive a trophy designed specially by BMW Design; the runner-up will receive 5,000 Euro. The ensemble with the best combined average of all concerts will receive the audience award endowed with an exclusive stay at resort Schloss Elmau.

Programme of BMW Welt Jazz Award 2015

Matinees: 11 am to c.1:30 pm at the double-coned structure of BMW Welt:January 18, 2015 Michel Sajrawy Trio

  • January 25, 2015 – FAT – Fabulous Austrian Trio
  • February 8, 2015 – Camila Meza Quartet
  • February 22, 2015 – Hellmüller Risso Zanoli
  • March 8, 2015 –  Manu Codjia Trio
  • March 15, 2015 – Carl Mörner Ringström Majestic Quartet

Admission is free of charge but seating is limited. Tickets are subject to availability. Doors open at 10.30 am.

Grand finale in the auditorium of BMW Welt at 7 pm

April 18, 2015 final concert by the two nominated finalists

Tickets for the grand finale on April 18, 2015 will be available as of January 18, 2015 at BMW Welt and München Ticket

As in previous years, the programme will be hosted by Beate Sampson, jazz expert and editor at the German broadcasting station “BR-KLASSIK”.


The distinguished panel of expert jurors will be headed by Oliver Hochkeppel (journalist for music and cultural affairs at the German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung) and will include the following members:

Roland Spiegel, editor at the music desk and jazz expert at German broadcasting station Bayerischer Rundfunk “BR‑KLASSIK“;

Andreas Kolb, editor-in-chief of the magazines “JazzZeitung” and “neue musikzeitung”;

Heike Lies, musicologist, Music and Music Theatre Division of the Department of Cultural Affairs of the state capital Munich;

Christiane Böhnke-Geisse, Jazz & Music Consulting and Promotion.

Artists and Ensembles

January 18, 2015: Michel Sajrawy Trio

“Arabop” is the title of the latest album by guitar player Michel Sajrawy – a perfect reflection of his musical repertoire. Born in Nazareth in 1970, this Palestinian Christian has a unique way of harmoniously combining various forms of jazz from Bebop to European Avantgarde with Arab music. This might well be a result of his training at the London College of Music and Media, where Sajrawy was awarded the Wilfried Joseph Prize in 1999. Since his return to Israel he has been inspired by the many contrasts of his homeland and made a name for himself as a creative composer and skilful musician. With his own recording studio he has also become known as a producer supporting emerging talents. Sajrawy will come to Munich accompanied by keyboardist Loai Abu Sinni and drummer Stas Zilberman.

January 25, 2015: FAT (Fabulous Austrian Trio)

No less than legendary guitarist John MacLaughlin said that the music of Alex Machacek begins where other music stops. This 42 year old Viennese began playing classical guitar at the age of eight before venturing into the realms of rock and jazz. At the tender age of 16, he began studying jazz guitar at the conservatory of Vienna. Inspired by John Scofield and Allan Holdsworth, whose legato technique and clustered intervals Machacek developed further in his “Recomposing” project, he also cites Frank Zappa as a major influence. To this day, he has been collaborating with Zappa’s drummer Terry Bozzio. Ever since studying at the Berklee College of Music in Boston in the 1990s, Machacek has been living in Los Angeles with his American wife. Alongside bassist Raphael Preuschl and drummer Herbert Pirker, he continues to keep in touch with his roots via his “Fabulous Austrian Trio” (FAT) catering to his preference for rock-inspired jazz with a humorous approach to the music of the world.

February 8, 2015: Camila Meza Quartet

The young Chilean Camila Meza is currently one of the hottest newcomers on the New York jazz scene. Raised and trained in Santiago de Chile, she entered the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York with a scholarship in 2009. Quickly, she began performing in the city’s most prominent clubs. A technical virtuoso at the guitar, highly expressive multiligual musician and talented composer, she is sought after by experienced artists such as Paquito D‘Rivera and Aaron Goldberg, who also produced the latest of her three albums. Meza will be accompanied to BMW Welt by pianist Shai Maestro, bassist Linda Oh and drummer Kendrick Scott

February 22, 2015: Hellmüller Risso Zanoli

Ever since the release of his latest two albums Franz Hellmüller has become Switzerland’s most important young jazz guitarist. Trained at the American School of Modern Music in Paris and the Conservatory of Luzern, he was taught by legendary musicians including Dave Liebman, Frank Möbus, John Abercrombie and Kurt Rosenwinkel. Working alongside Switzerland’s most famous jazz musicians such as Nat Su, Norbert Pfammatter, Tobias Preisig, Bänz Öster and Samuel Rohrer, Hellmüller has made a name for himself. At BMW Welt, he will present his surprising and accomplished themes accompanied by the skilful and much sought-after Italian bassist Stefano Risso and drummer Marco Zanoli.

March 8, 2015: Manu Codjia Trio

Born in 1975, Emmanuel „Manu“ Codjia, a French national with roots in the Ivory Coast, began his musical career relatively late. Aged 14, he began playing classical guitar at the local conservatory of his hometown Chaumont, where increasingly, he turned to jazz. In 1994, Codjia relocated to Paris to study at the Conservatoire national supérieur de musique et de danse. He graduated in 1999 and lived a year of triumph: he was awarded numerous prizes at the national jazz competition including best solo artist. Just one year later, he had become a member of Orchestre National de jazz under the direction of Paolo Damiani. Ever since, he has been performing alongside French stars such as Erik Truffaz, Daniel Humair, Henri Texier and Matthieu Donarier. Since 2007, Codjia has recorded four of his own albums, including the rock-inspired jazz album “Covers”. At BMW Welt, he will be accompanied by the very artists he recorded this album with, bassist Jérôme Regard and drummer Philippe Garcia.

March 15, 2015: Carl Mörner Ringström Majestic Orchestra

Swedish guitarist Carl Mörner Ringström began his musical career as a teenager playing hard rock inspired by his favourite guitarist Eddie van Halen. Through his studies in Helsingborg as well as at the Rhythmic Music Conservatory in Copenhagen he finally discovered jazz. A technical virtuoso of the likes of Alan Holdsworth or Kurt Rosenwinkel, he won first prize at the Swedish Youth Jazz Festival in 2004. He began touring the US and exploring various styles from the folkloristic sounds of the Balkan, hip hop, fusion and heavy metal to orchestrated improvisations and Steve Reich. In the early stages of his career, he made a name for himself accompanying and co-producing singer Malene Mortensen.

Last year, his debut album “Neocolony“ created a sensation. Bursting with effects, this musical fusion dazzled listeners with its youthful energy, relaxed basics and its breath-taking virtuosity. All fine qualities that he will certainly present when coming to BMW Welt with his “Majestic Orchestra”, featuring keyboardist William Larsson, bassist Paul Hinz and drummer Daniel Johansson.

This edition of the BMW Welt Jazz Award will once again enjoy the generous support of BR-KLASSIK, JazzZeitung, Ludwig Beck department store, resort Schloss Elmau and the Department of Cultural Affairs of the city of Munich.

About BMW’s Cultural Commitment

For more than 40 years now, the BMW Group has initiated and engaged in over 100 cultural cooperations worldwide. The company places the main focus of its long-term commitment on modern and contemporary art, jazz and classical music as well as architecture and design. In 1972, three large-scale paintings were created by the artist Gerhard Richter specifically for the foyer of the BMW Group’s Munich headquarters. Since then, artists such as Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Olafur Eliasson, Jeff Koons, Zubin Metha, Daniel Barenboim and Anna Netrebko have co-operated with BMW. The company has also commissioned famous architects such as Karl Schwanzer, Zaha Hadid and Coop Himmelb(l)au to design important corporate buildings and plants. In 2011, the BMW Guggenheim Lab, a global initiative of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, the Guggenheim Museum and the BMW Group celebrated its world premiere in New York. The BMW Group takes absolute creative freedom in all the cultural activities it is involved in for granted – as this is just as essential for groundbreaking artistic work as it is for major innovations in a successful business.

BMW Welt – at the heart of the brand, on the pulse of the city

With its attractive programme of events and cutting-edge architecture, BMW Welt is a Munich venue that promises a host of diverse experiences. Since its inauguration in 2007, BMW Welt has become a major attraction that boasts around two million visitors a year, putting it in the number one spot in Bavaria. Visitors can look forward to a highly varied programme of events covering culture, art and entertainment, along with culinary treats served up in several restaurants. Whether it’s a jazz concert, a poetry slam, clubbing, improv theatre, family Sundays, a film premiere, gala event or panel discussion – BMW Welt is the perfect platform for innovative events with capacity for up to 2,500 guests.