Theo Jörgensmann

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Theodor Franz Jörgensmann (born September 29, 1948 in Bottrop ) is a German clarinetist , jazz musician , composer and a protagonist of the Modern Creative style. Theo Jörgensmann belongs to the second generation of European improvisation musicians . He was involved in the renaissance of the jazz clarinet in the 1980s and is considered to be one of the outstanding soloists on this instrument.

Theo Jörgensmann (2009)


Theo Jörgensmann's father was an innkeeper in a typical Ruhr area pub . It was in this environment that he grew up as the eldest son with two brothers and a sister. Before he turned to the clarinet without any academic or musical training - Jörgensmann is self-taught - he worked as a chemical laboratory assistant. It was not until he was 18 that he began to play the clarinet. From 1969 to 1972 he took private clarinet lessons from a lecturer at the Folkwang Hochschule in Essen . Jörgensmann, who left secondary school at the age of 15, graduated from high school in the early 1970s. After his military service in Münster (1973), he worked with disabled children and began studying social education , which he did not complete. Around 1975 Jörgensmann became a professional musician.

Theo Jörgensmann has lived in Brüel , Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania since 1997 .


The 1970s

In 1970 and 1971 Jörgensmann attended the summer jazz courses at the Remscheid Academy . One of the first groups with which Jörgensmann appeared nationwide in the early 1970s was the Contact Trio 1970–1973 with Alois Kott ( double bass ) and Michael Jüllich ( drums ). With this group he played in 1972 as a newcomber at the German Jazz Festival in Frankfurt .

The trio was followed from 1974 to 1975 by the jazz-rock formation Out, in which he played the electrically alienated clarinet. At the same time he played in the Clarinet Contrast group , a clarinet pool.

From 1976 he organized his first own quartet, which can be assigned to the "Free Bop". With this group, which existed until 1982 and to which Uli P. Lask , Kai Kanthak and Dionys Kube belonged since 1978 , Jörgensmann appeared in Hilversum in 1977 as the German representative of the European Broadcasting Union .

The 1980s

For around ten years, from 1982 to 1992, Jörgensmann designed and hosted jazz programs for WDR under the editorial direction of Manfred Niehaus . Together with Rolf-Dieter Weyer, he wrote a Little Ethics of Improvisation during this time .

Theo Jörgensmann and Károly Binder in Budapest, Ship A 38 , September 7, 2006

Jörgensmann repeatedly cooperates with poets, actors, visual artists and filmmakers on an interdisciplinary basis . Examples of these works are the experimental opera Die Eroberung des Schönen with Reinald Schnell (filmmaker, actor), Robert Bosshard (filmmaker, writer), Peter Thoms (drummer, artist) and Anna Fechter (actress), which was broadcast on WDR television in 1995 produced as well as his collaboration with the Düsseldorf artist Helmut Schweizer and the poet Oskar Ansull .

At times he also worked as a theater musician, so in November 1984 he represented the klezmer clarinetist Giora Feidman at the theater of the Freie Volksbühne Berlin in 23 performances of the play Ghetto by Joshua Sobol .

In 1986 Jörgensmann was an improvisation soloist in the world premiere of Günther Wiesemann's Ruhrstadt Symphony with the Hagen Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Michael Halász . In Wiesemann's second version of the opera Bread and Games , an opera in two acts based on a libretto by Max von der Grün , he appeared as a soloist with the Bochum Symphony Orchestra a . a. at the Bruckner Festival in Linz in 1991.

He also played in the Clarinet Quartet Cl-4 , which existed from 1985 to 1988. In 1988 Jörgensmann co-founded the Neue Organization Musik (NOM) in Essen , together with Eckard Koltermann , which organized concert series and festivals as well as producing recordings.

From 1981 to 1996 he was in the band European Interface of the New York pianist and painter John Fischer , and from 1985 to 1998 in the contraband of the trombonist Willem van Manen . In the 1980s he also played in Franz Koglmann's Pipetet, in Andrea Centazzo's Central Europe Orchestra and in various formations around Michael Sell .

In 1983 pianist Georg Gräwe founded the large-format pit sound orchestra with Jörgensmann and Eckard Koltermann , and together with bass clarinetist Eckard Koltermann Jörgensmann formed the German Clarinet Duo (1984–1998).

The 1990s

In the 1990s Jörgensmann also gave duo concerts with the Swiss pianist and composer Daniel Ott or the Hungarian pianist Karoly Binder. With his companions from the Dutch contraband - Jeroen van Vliet , Eric van der Westen and Koltermann - Jörgensmann has worked together as the IIQ Quartet (Impressionistic Improvisers Quartet) since 1993.

From 1992 to 1995 he directed the Werkschau Ensemble, in which the violinist Albrecht Maurer, the cellist Donja Eghbal, the bass clarinetist Rainald Schückens and the drummer Achim Krämer participated. From the mid-1990s, Jörgensmann and the Lithuanian saxophonist Petra Vysniauskas had a quintet that included Andreas Willers , Kent Carter and Klaus Kugel.

At the end of 1996 Jörgensmann formed a new band with bassist Christian Ramond , drummer Klaus Kugel and Christopher Dell on the vibraphone. The Theo Jörgensmann Quartet toured three times through Canada and the USA and was the first German band to play twice at the world's largest jazz festival, the Montreal International Jazz Festival .

In 1998 and 1999 he was also a member of the Ig Henneman Tentet .

Theo Jörgensmann, 2009.

The 2000s until today

Since 2003 Jörgensmann has been playing in the trio Oles Jörgensmann Oles with the Polish twins Marcin (bass) and Bartlomiej Oles (drums). At the invitation of the Polish Cultural Institute, the trio gave concerts in Ukraine in 2004 during the Orange Revolution . The band also performed in Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, Austria, France, Portugal, Hungary, Belgium, Sweden, Finland, Serbia and Slovenia. The Polish internet jazz magazine Diapazon chose their second CD Directions as The Best Album of The Year 2005. The trio is partly expanded to include the violinist Albrecht Maurer or the vibraphonist Christopher Dell as Theo Jörgensmann Second Quartet .

Another project by Jörgensmann is the Deep Down Clarinet Duo with the double bass clarinetist Ernst Ulrich Deuker . Together with the French clarinetist Etienne Rolin , they have formed the Tribal Clarinet Trio since 2009 .

In 2009 Jörgensmann gave several concerts in London with younger English musicians such as Shabaka Hutchings , Seb Rochford and Dominic Lash . In 2010 Jörgensmann founded the Freedom Trio with Hagen Stüdemann and Christian Ramond.

Since 2015 Jörgensmann has been playing again with members of the group " Clarinet Summit ", which met for the first time in 1980 on the occasion of the New Jazz Meeting Baden-Baden . He also gives concerts in a duo with Albrecht Maurer or performs with the reciter Bernt Hahn from Cologne.

In 2018 Jörgensmann was Artist in Residence at the 15th Singer's Warsaw Festival , the largest festival for Jewish culture in Poland.

Aspects of his music

Jörgensmann's music is determined by the influences of different areas of music. Characterized by the possibilities of inside-outside improvisation , he combines elements of jazz, new music, classical and folklore in the improvisational style he has developed over decades. In his music, passages of a narrative character alternate with passages that are entirely focused on the sound. The tempo and the direction of the melody lines are subject to rapid, spontaneous changes, so that a constantly changing soundscape is created.

Discography (selection)

  • Theo Jörgensmann Quartet: in time (guest: Perry Robinson) (1976)
  • Theo Jörgensmann Laterna Magica Solo (1983)
  • Hans-Günther Wauer / Theo Jörgensmann: "Introitus" (1990)
  • Hans-Günther Wauer / Theo Jörgensmann / Günter “Baby” Sommer ; Merseburg Encounter (1994)
  • Herbert Somplatzki : Word Music with Eckard Koltermann (1995)
  • Theo Jörgensmann Quartet: ta eko mo (1997)
  • Theo Jörgensmann / Eckard Koltermann: Pagine Gialle (1995) / (2001)
  • Theo Jörgensmann Quartet: Snijbloemen (2000)
  • Theo Jörgensmann: Fellowship with Petras Vysniauskas, Charlie Mariano , Karl Berger , Kent Carter and Klaus Kugel (1998) / (2005)
  • Oles Jörgensmann Oles Live in Poznan 2006 / (2007) with Marcin Oles and Bartlomiej Oles
  • Trio Hot Jink with Albrecht Maurer and Peter Jacquemyn (2008)
  • Theo Jörgensmann / Albrecht Maurer Duo Melencolia , (Nemu, 2011)
  • Krzysztof Dys , Michael Marcus , Theo Jörgensmann Elements in Candor (2013)
  • Bernd Köppen / Theo Jörgensmann Duo Vater Rhein Mutter raus - 8 dialogues dedicated to Manfred Niehaus , (Senti 2013)
  • Bucksch ( Konnex Records , 2014)
  • Contact 4tett Loud Enough to Rock the Kraut (2015)
  • Clarinet Summit Clarinet Summit Jazzwerkstatt (2017), with Perry Robinson, Gianluigi Trovesi, Bernd Konrad, Sebastian Gramss , Albrecht Maurer, Günter “Baby” Sommer and Annette Maye

Compositions (selection)

  • Room in New York . Dance theater piece for 2 dancers, 1 actor, 1 speaker and 2 musicians based on a text by Michael Klaus (1996). Choreography: Claudia Lichtblau, composition: Theo Jörgensmann / Karoly Binder.
  • The Conquest of the Beautiful , experimental chamber opera for 3 writers, 1 painter, 1 actor and 1 musician. WDR television production (1995)
  • aesthetic direction . Chamber music for clarinet, bass clarinet, violin, violoncello and percussion. UA (1993). CD Konnex Records (Performers: Theo Jörgensmann Werkschau Ensemble)
  • The monologue . Film music for the film of the same name by Reinald Schnell . WDR television production (1990)

Teaching and awards

Small ethics.gif


  • Theo Jörgensmann and Rolf-Dieter Weyer: Small ethics of improvisation: of essence, time and space, material and spontaneous form ISBN 3-924272-99-9


  • People in the Ruhr area. Theo Jörgensmann, Bottrop, clarinet by Christoph Huebner, WDR 1987
  • Musical instruments and their history. The Clarinet NDR (1987)

Web links

Commons : Theo Jörgensmann  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. German player Theo Jörgensmann by the way, is developing into one of Europe's greatest jazz clarinettists as the clarinet seems to be having a worldwide jazz revival. Joachim-Ernst Berendt ; Down Beat 2/1980.
  2. ^ Documentary film initiative in the North Rhine-Westphalia film office. 100 documentaries on the Ruhr area, 1963–2004.
  3. The trio then consisting of T. Jörgensmann, A. Kott and M. Jüllich qualified for the newcomber matinee from among more than thirty applicants. Cover text Double Face by Ulrich Olshausen 1975.
  4. Michael Rüsenberg in Der Tagesspiegel . February 6, 1977
  5. ^ Marbacher Zeitung . May 5th 1977.
  6. ^ Documenta IX , Kassel; 1992
  7. Kulturforum Potsdam 2004
  8. ^ Peter Zadek a biography of Mechthild Lange, p. 161; Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag ; 1989.
  9. Hans-Jürgen Schaal in Jazz Podium . November 1990.
  10. Interview with Jean Quist in Jazz Nu (Netherlands). November 1985.
  11. ^ "Zo Staat er vrij aan het begin plotseling een saxofoonkwarte; later krijgt clarinetist Theo Jörgensmann - bij verre de best soloist van de band - een spilfunctie. ”( Trouw . November 15, 1994).
  12. ^ The Central Europe Orchestra in the Museum of the 20th Century in Vienna. In: Jazz Podium . August 1983.
  13. Disc review of Bergmannsleben. In: Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung . May 7, 1982.
  14. Kunsthalle Basel . 1995.
  15. ^ Concert Bimhuis Amsterdam, October 31, 1996.
  16. La Scena Musicale. Vol 8, No. 9, June 4, 2003.
  17. ^ Bimhuis Amsterdam program
  18. Program of the Jazz BEZ festival, Lviv Ukraine; from 7th to 12th December 2004.
  19. DIAPAZON - EDYCJA 2 (174) (Plyty polskie wydane w 2005) January 22, 2006.
  20. T. Jörgensmann Second Quartet's Polish tour; Goethe-Institut -Warsaw October 2007.
  21. njuuz, September 14, 2015 .
  22. Singer's Warsaw Festival 2018 .
  23. ^ "Jazz Pott" 2018 to Theo Jörgensmann: Octet , accessed June 7, 2018