What’s so special about “Lana meets Jazz’?
Helga Plankensteiner: It’s a festival built up from scratch each year. It’s not just about music or about culture, but about fostering young talents. You don’t find that very often. Of course, that’s also because I work as a teacher at a music school, and many of my colleagues participate in the festival.
Michl Lösch: It’s simply a great mix, some true synergies.
Helga Plankensteiner: We don’t need a lot of advance planning. We give everything room to evolve. You always need the right vibes. Nothing should ever be taken for granted. Most of the energy we need for this comes from our students. This festival was initiated for them and together with them, to give them the chance to play on stage in front of a wider audience together with some professional musicians.
How did you become interested in Jazz?
Michl Lösch: For me, classical music was always a little too boring. I was more into improvisation, into simply playing whatever came to mind. My first band played a lot of fusion, i.e. a mix of jazz and rock. Later, the jazz component became stronger and stronger. But back then, there were not a lot of options for studying jazz, so I first went to Milano, to Franco D’Andrea, and to Graz in Austria. It was only later that you could find more workshops in other places, too. To listen to jazz or buy jazz records, you had to travel to Bologna, Milano or Munich, Germany. Very slowly, a jazz scene started developing here in South Tyrol. First in Merano/Meran, Bolzano/Bozen and Bressanone/Brixen, where there were now some opportunities to play in bars and pubs. Today, we have various festivals, and all the music academies have their own jazz classes.
Helga Plankensteiner: My career was pretty straightforward. First, I was member of a church choir and played the clarinet in a band. Later, I went to Innsbruck, Austria, and to Milano to study voice, and I also went to New York. When I came back, I got more serious about learning to play the saxophone: I attended workshops and listened to a lot of music before getting a regular degree at a music academy.