On a train ride to Copenhagen Airport Birgit Vinge looked at Erik Moseholm and said: ‘Let’s create something!’
The conversation soon blossomed and before they reached the airport the deal was made. Birgit Vinge would raise the money if Erik Moseholm would bring the ideas.
The plan was to gather young musicians from all over Europe and give them a place in an exclusive big band.
First year was 1996 and the project was named BIMWO – Brande International Music Workshop.
The success of the project lit up the motivation and most of the following year Birgit Vinge was found in hall ways in Bruxelles where she was trying to raise further funding from the EU.
From 1998 European Jazz Orchestra was a reality and it is has been the prestige project of DSI Swinging Europe up until its exit in 2013.
Three years later PLAY!GROUND LIVE was added to the portfolio and the list of projects still grows today.
In 2005 the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) were attached to the project. This are a worldwide network and they were responsible for choosing the best musicians to play in European Jazz Orchestra.
Pulling up the Stakes
In 2011 Swinging Europe pulled up the stakes and moved from Brande to a new office in Herning. Along with the new surroundings came Per Bech Jensen who took ownership of the organisation as the Executive Director.
He resigned his position by the end of 2014, however, we have not completely released our hold on him since he has entered the position as President of the board.
New Times Call for New Initiatives
Swinging Europe is currently in a transitional phase and After many years of working specifically with jazz music on a European level implementing the project European Jazz Orchestra Swinging Europe is now looking to expand our international position and area of expertise. Our organization is moving in a different direction away from jazz music towards more interdisciplinary cultural projects. Swinging Europe arose out of a love of jazz and music in general and one of our main objectives still is to develop musical talent but today we move across all musical genres in an attempt to break with the traditional genre definitions.
From the beginning of 2015 it has been Marie Lilholt who has taken the driver’s seat and is responsible for carrying out new as well as old projects.