7VJC Interview: Nicole Johanntgen

German jazz musician Nicole Johänntgen is saxophonist, composer and workshop leader. She has won a total of 9 awards internationally and nationally. Among them the 7VJC Contest 2016 edition, International Jazz Contest Monaco, the JTI Trier Jazz Award, the European Yamaha Saxophone Contest, the Young Soloist Contest in Fribourg. Then she received awards such as Lichtenburg Award 2023, Art Award 2022 Saarland, Sponsorship Award of Saarlandic Radio and Sparkassen Finance Group Saar and the first prize for the best composition of Jazzclub Moods in Switzerland. Nicole Johänntgen has played with stars like Daniel Powter (Bad day), Roger Cicero, Eric Harland, Aaron Parks, Nils Landgren and is on CDrelease tour with her band Nicole Johänntgen “Labyrinth”. She studied jazz/popular music at the State Academy of Music in Mannheim and has been living with her family in Switzerland since 2005.

How did you learn to play?
I played along a lot with CDs. That was fun and I got to know the jazz vocabulary. Likewise, from the age of 13, I was already on stage with my saxophone. I learned a lot there.

Where did you study?
I studied at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Mannheim. And I was a participant in Dave Liebman’s masterclass in Stroudsburg Pennsylvania US.


Who are the musicians that influenced you the most?
Saxophonists: Cannonball Adderly, John Coltrane and Dexter Gordon. Chopin, Ravel, Peter Gabriel.

What are your thoughts and opinions on today’s jazz scene?
We have a jazz scene that is very interesting. But it is not yet diverse enough. I still see few women in the jazz scene. Slowly it’s changing. But it’s not yet considered normality.

Can you tell us more about your experience with the 7 Virtual Jazz Club?
The prize of the competition helped me to deepen my knowledge more in jazz. To take lessons and realize recordings. What I found a pity is that you couldn’t have contact with the jury. I was also not given the names. I did not find that positive . That’s exactly what it’s all about. You want to stay in contact for the rest of your life. It’s nice when you have a concert in Italy and you know the person from the jury lives there. It is too impersonal for me. But I am still grateful that I could receive the prize. So I say 100 percent: thank you very much!

Nicole Johänntgen

What are your upcoming projects?
I am on tour with my new album “Labyrinth” from now on. I am very happy about it.

Do you want to promote an upcoming record/event/masterclass?
The tour starts from Friday on. But a push for the Paris concert October 4th 2023 in Sunset Sunside would be great!
I am playing Nicole Johänntgen “Labyrinth”.

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