The Kurt Maas Jazz Award (KMJA) was founded in 2013 by Camilo Dornier and Prof. Claus Reichstaller, director of the Jazz Institute of the University of Music and Theatre Munich (Hochschule für Musik und Theater München – HMTM)
The award honors Kurt Maas and his life time achievement as musician, entrepreneur, and pioneer of academic jazz education in Munich, Germany. The Award is exclusively for jazz students of the Jazz Institute of the HMTM and is held biannually.
Each edition of the Award includes a five-week summer study at Berklee College of Music Boston (1st price), a concert at the Night Club of Hotel Bayerischer Hof Munich (2nd price), and a tailored Masterclass (3rd price).
The Awards are presented at a concert featuring the award winners at the concert hall of the University or at a venue of the Munich Philharmonic. Besides the ensembles of the award winners, the HMTM Jazz Orchestra directed by Claus Reichstaller sets the stage.
The Award concert is recorded by video and always features high level guest artists: Abraham Laboriel, Dusko Gojkovic, Tia Fuller, Klaus Doldinger and Patti Austin participated in the past. As a highlight in 2021, Dusko Gojkovic was presented the “Berklee Master of Global Jazz Award” by Roger Brown, former president of Berklee.
In 2023, the Kurt Maas Jazz Award will celebrate its tenth anniversary. To mark this special occasion, the award winners' concert will take place in a festive setting at the Isarphilharmonie on July 12, 2023. In addition to the award winners, there will also be some special guests this time.
About Kurt Maas
Kurt Maas studied at the Berklee School of Music in Boston and graduated there in 1965 with a Certificate in Arranging and Composition. In addition to his work as a musician, composer and arranger, he started his own business by founding a sheet music mail order company, which became for several years the exclusive distributor of all Berklee publications for Germany. His sheet music mail order company was one of the most important sources for US big band sheet music as well as all kinds of arrangements at that time and lives on today in his company "@lle-noten.de". Thanks to his entrepreneurial skills, @lle-noten.de is now one of Europe's leading online sheet music retailers and is still run by his family.
The foundation stone of the university's Jazz Institute was laid 40 years ago at the Richard Strauss Conservatory by Kurt Maas. He headed the Jazz Department until his retirement in 2008. Thanks to his unique dedication to founding and developing the Jazz Department, Kurt Maas made an invaluable contribution to the advancement of jazz education in Munich. Today, many of his students are among the most renowned jazz musicians in Germany and Europe. Professor Claus Reichstaller, one of Europe's leading jazz trumpeters, continues Kurt Maas' life's work today as director of the Jazz Institute.