Recorded on September 10, 2008 at the ACT Jazz And Friendship Festival at Schloss Elmau, Joachim Kühn & Michael Wollny Live at Schloss Elmau (Piano Works IX) answers the question of "What would happen if a thirty-something jazz piano phenom and a sixty-something jazz piano legend teamed up in concert?" The resulting work is nothing short of brilliant as two masters of the grand piano collectively flex their jazz abilities with intensity and sincere reverence for each other’s work.
Joachim Kühn was born in Leipzig, Germany in 1944. Kühn expressed an interest in music early on and went on to establish himself as a musical prodigy and completed his studies of classical piano and composition under renowned concert pianist Arthur Schmidt-Elsey. Michael Wollny was born in Schweinfurt, Germany in 1978 and established what would become an impressive career in jazz at an early age. Wollny studied music at the The University of Wuerzburg Music and earned both an Artistic Diploma with Distinction and Master Class Diploma. Interestingly enough, Wollny wrote based his thesis on Kühn’s improvisations and has idolized his work since first hearing his work.
What makes this recording all the more spectacular is that Kühn has decidedly steered clear of performing concerts in the two grand piano scheme for most of his career, yet he agreed to just that for the opportunity to play with Wollny. The mutual respect that each of these pianists has for the other is evident in each selection. There was never a point where they tried to "one up" or "out play" each other. Instead, they strove to communicate harmoniously and allow their collective work speak for itself. This concert was perhaps the classiest statement that could be made by two musicians of Kühn & Wollny’s talent.