Porgy&Bess wins the EJN Award for Adventurous Programming 2020

(c) Porgy&Bess
(c) Porgy&Bess

Each year, since 2012, EJN (Europe Jazz Network) the Europe-wide association of promoters, presenters and organisations who specialise in creative music, contemporary jazz and improvised music, awards an European promoter who exemplifies the values of EJN and skilfully succeeds to create visionary and fascinating musical programmes for the audience.


We are very pleased to inform you that Vienna’s Porgy&Bess was chosen as one of the winners of the 2020 EJN Award for Adventurous Programming, next to Victoria – Nasjonal jazzscene in Oslo (Norway). For the very first time, the jury decided to bestow the award ex-aequo to these two clubs, as a recognition for the seamless quality of their programming and for their commitment to providing emerging artists with high-quality spaces to perform in front of always-attentive audiences.

Christoph Huber, Porgy & Bess (c) Wolfgang Gonaus
Christoph Huber (c) Wolfgang Gonaus

Getting an award is always good, getting an international award is even better. Getting an award from the Europe Jazz Network is the best! Thank you very much for this recognition.” (Christoph Huber, Artistic Director of Porgy & Bess)

Even though the final decision about the winners was taken back in February 2020, the choice of two venues seems even more relevant now, in a moment where music venues all around the world are heavily suffering the consequences of the covid-19 pandemic and experiencing deep uncertainties about their upcoming concert seasons. Recognising the amazing work of these two clubs seems also a way to underline the essential role that venues all around the world are playing right now in offering high-quality music and cultural experiences despite many limitations, experimenting with new fruition models and continuing to provide working opportunities to musicians and technical teams at a time when it is most needed.

The Award winners were selected through a two-phase process: in the first step all the 150+ Europe Jazz Network (EJN) member organisations from 35 countries were asked to indicate a potential award winner (not necessarily an EJN member) during the last General Assembly held in Novara in September 2019. Later on, a selected jury of EJN members and other respected music professionals in Europe met online in February 2020 and chose the winners out of the resulting list of 28 nominated promoters (festivals, clubs and concert venues).

The Jury

“The 2020 EJN Award for Adventurous Programming has been unanimously assigned to two iconic European jazz clubs: Porgy & Bess in Vienna (Austria) and Victoria-Nasjonal jazzscene in Oslo (Norway). Both venues offer high quality working conditions for the musicians performing and adventurous and thrilling programming for their audiences. The jury has decided to give the EJN Award to both clubs because it’s not possible for the jury to state that one of these great ambassadors of creative music is better than the other. Victoria, Nasjonal jazzscene and Porgy & Bess are institutions that are exploring and developing the jazz genre through strong artistic equality and musical diversity. Congratulations for this well-deserved international recognition!” (Jury statement)

The 2020 Jury was composed by: Rosa Galbany (Taller de Músics/Jazz I Am, Spain), Karolina Juzwa (Wytwórnia Foundation/Intl Jazz Platform, Poland), Soweto Kinch (Artist and Radio Presenter, UK), Øyvind S. Larsen (Oslo Jazzfestival, Norway) & Edin Zubčević (JazzFest Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina, previous EJN Award Winner)

The EJN Award 2020 for Adventurous Programming will be celebrated during the 2020 Europe Jazz Network General Assembly, that this year will take place on September 10th  fully online because of the covid-19 pandemic, and if the conditions will allow it during public ceremonies held at the two jazz clubs during the 2020 autumn and winter seasons.

About Porgy & Bess – Jazz & Music Club, Vienna

The non-profit organisation Porgy & Bess defines itself as a Jazz & Music Club with a pluralistic and multifaceted programme. It serves as a site for musical encounters, interaction and confrontation both for artists and audience. The main focus lies on the implementation of a structure that takes into consideration Austria’s (jazz) scene’s wide range of ways to articulate itself as well as new development perspectives, such as collaborations with international guest musicians. Moreover, a club that serves as a meeting point for the creative local scene offers the possibility to exchange experience while transcending stylistic and aesthetic boundaries – a testing ground for different projects that do not need to present „ultimate statements“, a place for constant labouring and development. A basic intention of Porgy & Bess is to encourage cooperations between local musicians with different artistic backgrounds in order to prevent „musical ghettoisation“.

Porgy & Bess © Rainer Rygalyk
Porgy & Bess © Rainer Rygalyk

In the past decades Europe’s jazz scene has managed to definitely establish itself as an independent and innovative force in jazz. Defining itself as a European jazz club, it is understood that P&B presents creative European contemporary music. Cooperations with our partners in the European club scene (Moods/Zurich, Stadtgarten/Cologne, Unterfahrt/Munich, AMR/Geneva, Bimhuis/Amsterdam …) and the international festival scene (Le Mans, Moers, Berlin …) highlight different categories of concepts of improvised music from other countries. Especially close contacts with promoters and musicians from the former Eastern bloc (Slovakia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Lithuania, Russia, Estonia, Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia, Albania, …) lead to international cultural exchanges (see also festival series „Step across the border“).

About the Europe Jazz Network

Europe Jazz Network (EJN) was created in 1987 as a Europe-wide non-profit association of live music promoters and presenters. Currently EJN includes 162 organisations (festivals, clubs and concert venues, independent promoters and national/regional organisations) in 34 countries and it is one of the 28 cultural networks supported by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union.

Porgy & Bess (Website)
EJN Awards (Website)
Europe Jazz Network’s (Website)