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European Jazz Conference 2015: Hungarian Showcases

European Jazz Conference 2015: Hungarian Showcases
Henning Bolte By

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Budapest Music Center
European Jazz Conference Hungarian Showcases
Budapest, Hungary
September, 24-27, 2015

The European Jazz Conference is a step forward for pan-European cooperation and collaboration. What was formerly the General Assembly of the Europe Jazz Network (EJN), became the European Jazz Conference from 2014. It is now also opened to external participants upon registration. The Conference with its lectures, panels, working sessions, musical showcases and its rich possibilities to exchange is an important annual meeting of jazz professionals in Europe, in particular of promoters, presenters and jazz support organizations. This article focuses on the ten Hungarian musical showcases and some of its background. More about the lectures, panels and working sessions of the meeting you'll find in the All About Jazz report by Ian Patterson.

Each year the European Jazz Conference is hosted in a different European city by a member organization of the Europe Jazz Network. Last year it took place in Helsinki, Finland. This year's conference in Budapest, Hungary, at the Budapest Music Center (BMC) hosted more than 200 professionals working in jazz and improvised music from 38 countries all over Europe. It was financed by the Creative Europe program of the European Union and by the Central Bank of Hungary.

The motto for the 2015 Conference 'Make it Happen' set the tone by focusing on positive instances of successful projects and original ideas that were implemented as a reply to the demanding challenges of the music industry nowadays. Next year's European Jazz Conference will be held at the National Forum of Music (NFM) in Wrocław, Polen. Wrocław will be European Capital of Culture in 2016.

In Budapest you were more direct confronted with the consequences of the massive influx of refugees from the Middle East that passed through the capital the last few weeks via neuralgic Keleti station (2 miles from BMC). EJN released an official statementon the refugee and migrant situation in Europe.


Budapest Music Center (BMC) was founded by trombonist and academy professor László Gőz in 1996. It is a music information center now that collects and makes available worldwide information about Hungarian classical and jazz musicians and about contemporary compositions. The permanently updated music database currently contains information about 3000 artists and 15500 compositions. The library, open to the general public free of charge, contains approximately 90 thousand books, notes, and records.

BMC has a concert hall with own programming and a jazz venue, Opus Jazz Club with four weekly concerts and an advanced programming. It has its own label, BMC Records, and houses the Peter Eötvös Contemporary Music Foundation named after the world-renowned composer and conductor. Eötvös moved the Eötvös Institute from Paris to the Budapest Music Center, connecting the institution to the international music scene. BMC has been supported also by György Ligeti and György Kurtág. The Kurtág family created a foundation called Music Forum to support the activities of the house. BMC has organized classical, contemporary and jazz events since 1997 (for example Festival Kurtág 80, the Music Forum Expo electroacoustic festival, the New Series Festival (jointly by BMC and ECM Records), the series of CD-presentations as well as the Budapest Jazz Festival).

BMC is a patron of Hungarian music: most of its activities are non-profit, funded by its more profitable event management activities. The Music Center is located at Mátyás utca 8, in the ninth district, Ferencváros, situated near and between metro stations Kalvin ter and Corvin-neyyed (also near the bazar of Mercado Central). Although a large part of the premises are open to the public, private resources financed most of the transformation of the 120 years-old former residential building. One can sense in every part of it that a musician built this house for musicians. There are more examples of private cultural foundations dedicated to music but BMC is a rare case of independently serving a national function.

BMC Records, founded in 1998 and publishing Hungarian artists of the contemporary, classical and jazz field has a catalogue of more than 220 releases now. It has built a name in Europe and the world, has fostered Hungarian musicians in an international context and initiated successful collaboration between Hungarian and musicians from all over Europe and abroad. For me it was an important source and introduction to Hungarian musicians and the Hungarian scene after the turn of the century (click here for a few radio examples.)

Hungarian jazz (musicians)


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