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Tina Heine | © Christian Leopold
The Jazz Soul of Salzburg
Tina Heine is a whirlwind. When she sweeps into a room, she brings with her a swirl of palpable creativity, a passion that demands your full concentration. Whatever Tina says has an impact. And consequences. Although she has only been in Salzburg since 2016 and is currently creative director of “Jazz & The City”, she already understands every nook and cranny of Salzburg. And puts her excellent instincts to good use.
A woman with vision.
Tina Heine is the definition of an allrounder: In Hamburg, she opened a bar when she was just 20 years old, a bar she still runs to this day. In 2010, she founded “Elbjazz”, a jazz festival on the Hamburg harbor front. Because she always wanted to shape the city where she is such a creative force, she also served on the board of the Hamburg Tourist Office. Through a twist of fate, Tina Heine was invited to take the reins of the Salzburg festival known as “Jazz & The City” in 2016. Today, she lives half of the time in Hamburg, half of the time in Salzburg, while also working as a guest lecturer in Salzburg and at the Hamburg University of Music & Theater.
Salzburg. Jazz. Tina Heine – Could you possibly have imagined a few years ago that those things would be spoken in the same breath?
No (laughs). I had been in Salzburg years ago for just a few hours and I felt the city was a bit confining. Though Salzburg defines itself in terms of culture, it tends to do so in rather conservative ways. Nonetheless, I have met a lot of good people with a lot of good ideas, found good locations and since learned that Salzburg does indeed have many free spirits and people with the courage to be open to diversity. Needless to say, that jives perfectly with jazz.
Along with inspiring locations, you seem to be making more and more use of public spaces for music, plus you are expanding your formats year-by-year.
That’s right. If I’m given the opportunity to arrange a performance in Mirabell Gardens, that’s exactly what I do (grins). I quickly noticed how well our “Klangspaziergänge” were received. They give the public a chance to follow a musician through the city, who in turn is able to discover the sound of his instrument in a variety of spaces – resulting in an extraordinary exchange between musicians and audiences. And our format “Blind Date” is in a state of continual development, with musicians meeting up who have never played together before, meaning that the audience along with the musicians have virtually no idea what to expect. That’s exactly how jazz can be sometimes!
What do the jazz artists say about Salzburg?
Many of our performers are constantly on the road, traveling from one festival to the next. For me, it was always important, not to have them here in Salzburg just for a single evening, but for the entire duration of the festival. In that way, they can engage with their surroundings in a whole different way. In the meantime, we have musicians who approach us to see if they can come back, simply to be part of the scene. The freedom we are able to give them is rare at other festivals. The compactness of the festival allows for spontaneous chance encounters on the street over and over again, which in turn leads to uncomplicated exchanges of ideas. It’s an actual fact that the whole city seems to get immersed in a whole different mood during a festival. You also notice that during Festival Season.
Be honest: If I don’t have much of an idea about jazz – what would you suggest?
Go with the flow! I think the most important thing is to bring jazz to where the people are, not the other way around. The beautiful thing about “Jazz & The City” is that, on the one hand, I can have a relaxed drink with friends in a bar while a band is playing, and on the other, I can sit contemplatively in a concert hall or church listening to peaceful sounds. For some music, there’s no better venue than an umbrella maker’s workshop or even a public space. The free concerts encourage everyone to discover and try something new, to let friends they have just bumped into lead them off the beaten track, or work their way through their favorites list with the help of the Festival APP. “Jazz & The City” allows everybody to discover the city through music, and discover music through the city.