Maki Namekawa plays Keith Jarrett's »The Köln Concert«
Pianist Maki Namekawa at the grand piano.
Sat, May 04, 2024 8 pm CEST, Concert
Completely sold out, no more tickets available at the box office

Maki Namekawa interprets Keith Jarrett's legendary »The Köln Concert« at the ZKM. Around the concert, we invite you to Artist Talks with the certified concert pianist of the Karlsruhe University of Music and the conductor of the MDR Symphony Orchestra, chief conductor of the Filharmonie Brno and Grammy winner Dennis Russell Davies

Keith Jarrett's »The Köln Concert« is not only a magical contemporary document, but also a milestone in modern music history. Nobody could have guessed before the concert that the American pianist would succeed in creating such a masterpiece. But sometimes it is coincidences or a combination of misfortunes and adverse conditions that give rise to great things. This was the case with »The Köln Concert«. 

After a guest performance in Switzerland, Jarrett arrived in Cologne on January 24, 1975 for his concert at the Cologne Opera House. The Bösendorfer 290 Imperial concert grand that had been requested in advance was not on stage – instead, a Bösendorfer baby grand that had been used for rehearsals and was out of tune, with jammed pedals and keys. The catering arrived late and was only ready shortly before the concert. The only possible reaction for Jarrett, hopelessly overtired after days of sleep deprivation and plagued by agonizing back pain, was to cancel the concert. 

The fact that the concert still took place in the opera house, which was sold out with 1,400 guests, was mainly thanks to the courageous piano tuner and the organizer Vera Brandes, who was only just an adult at the time, and her pleas to play the concert after all. Jarrett agrees and concentrates on the middle and low registers in his impromptu improvisation in order to get the most out of the unsuitable instrument. The sound engineer present decides to record the concert. A stroke of luck! The recording, originally intended for internal use only, became the best-selling jazz and piano solo album to date. 

Maki Namekawa interprets this famous improvisation in the ZKM Kubus with its wide-sounding room acoustics, creating a unique concert moment. For her, freedom and honesty are the central concepts with which this project stands or falls. In doing so, the pianist recalls a piece of advice she received from her piano professor Kaya Han in Karlsruhe almost 30 years ago: »Grasp the stone, but do nothing, just understand its essence.« Thanks to her virtuoso playing, Namekawa brings the piece back to life.


Ludger Brümmer (Curator)
Dominik Kautz (Curator & Project Manager)
Benjamin Miller (Sound Engineer)
Ricardo Rodrigues-Erl (Assistant Sound Engineer)