Saturday, May 23, 2009

R.I.P.: Hans Otto Jung

Hans Otto Jung
(born September 17, 1920, Lorch am Rhein/Germany;
died April 22, 2009, Rüdesheim/Germany)

The pianist Hans Otto Jung died on April 22nd at the age of 88. He never recovered from a fall last winter. Jung had been born to a musical family; his father who was a regularly organized chamber music concerts at their family vineyard in Rüdesheim, and famous musicians and composers were frequent guests at their house, Paul Hindemith among them. He was introduced to jazz in the 1930s and became the pianist of the Frankfurt Hot Club Combo in 1941. After the war he took over the family vineyard but stayed a life-long jazz and classical music lover and a prime philanthropist of the region. He had a radio show in the late 1940s but concentrated more and more on business after that. Jung could often be seen at jazz and chamber music concerts throughout the Rhein Main region, and often he invited musicians (especially pianists) to his house to play duets with him on his two Steinways.

The Jazzinstitut Darmstadt always had a close relationship to Jung whose memories they collected in an oral history project and who donated much historical material to the Jazzinstitut's archive. We were most impressed by a little story that showed how jazz was to be his fate from the very beginning: To congratulate his parents on his birth, Paul Hindemith in 1920 sent a greeting card with about eight bars of music, entitled "Young Lorch Fellow. Ragtime". Jung lived up to this early prophecy in his love for jazz.

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