Bad Godesberg · "Harmony of Difference" is the title of an unusual jazz festival in Bonn. It is also about the spirituality of the genre.
The Protestant Pauluskirche in Friesdorf and the Gustav Stresemann Institute in Hochkreuz are the venues for an unusual series of jazz events from 12 to 15 May. It is called "Harmony of Difference" and will show, in the form of music and words, the spirituality of jazz as, according to the translation, harmony in difference.
The organisers are the Evangelical Church in the Rhineland, whose President Thorsten Latzel has also taken on the patronage, and the Pedagogical-Theological Institute (PTI) of the regional church, which moved from the Heiderhof to Wuppertal at the end of 2021. In addition, there is the Pauluskirche and the nationwide Forum Reformation founded by its pastor Siegfried Eckert. The PTI director Professor Gotthard Fermor and Uwe Steinmetz, a theologian at Leipzig University, are in charge.
"We invite you to concerts open to the public, to musical-liturgical interruptions of the day, lectures and discussion forums as well as to the design and public performance of a jazz ritual," Fermor explains the programme. The idea is to explore the thesis that jazz has a spirituality all of its own, which is able to speak deeply to people in a secularised society.
"In terms of content, it is about the spirituality of jazz also in the secular horizon. That's why our ambitious programme is also interesting beyond ecclesiastical contexts," Fermor explains. In addition to internationally known musicians such as Tord Gustavsen, Joachim Kühn or Janne Mark, who perform in St Paul's Church, experts from the fields of theology, church music, musicology and philosophy have also been invited for an exchange. In addition, students from music colleges and interested people from Germany and abroad would come.
Transcendence in secular everyday life
Jazz owes its origins in part to church contexts and is still a popular guest there, Fermor explains. That is why church performance venues are a very fitting context, which is supported by the basic concern of the international BlueChurch movement that helps organise the dates: This Blue Church movement asks about religion on Mondays, i.e. after the Sunday service, about traces of transcendence in secular everyday life. And this with the perspective that these could enrich the Sunday.
One asks; "What do musicians also bring beyond these contexts in terms of spiritual experiences and horizons?" What did listeners experience in concerts that they could describe as spiritual? What ritual potentials does this form of music bring out of itself? What traces of transcendence can be experienced? "And what could this mean for the dialogue between jazz and church, music and theology in today's society," says Fermor.
The musical introduction will take place on Thursday, 12 May, from 7.30 pm in the Pauluskirche, In der Maar 7. Simin Tander and Tord Gustavsen will perform under the motto "My Spirituality in Jazz". Tickets for the concerts, 25 Euro each or 15 Euro reduced, are available from Bonnticket. The programme can be found here: www.harmonyofdifference2022.de.
On 12 May, the conference at the Gustav Stresemann Institute will also begin, with participants moving to the concerts. A few places at 90 Euro including accommodation and meals are still available. Registration under e-mail: email@example.com.
Original text: Ebba Hagenberg-Miliu
Translation: Mareike Graepel