Trajal Harrell

The Köln Concert

Archive 2022

50 min

Staging, choreography, stage design, sound, and costumes, Trajal Harrell
Featuring Titilayo Adebayo, Maria Ferreira Silva, Trajal Harrell, Camille Durif-Bonis, Thibault Lac, Songhay Toldon, Ondrej Vidlar
Stage work, Katinka Deecke
Lights, Sylvain Rausa
Music, Keith Jarrett, Joni Mitchell
Production assistants, Camille Roduit, Maja Renn
International broadcasting, Björn Pätz (SHZ), ART HAPPENS

Produced by Schauspielhaus Zürich
Co-directed by Théâtre de la Cité internationale (Paris); Festival d’Automne à Paris


The American choreographer, Trajal Harrell, dreamt of putting into movement The Köln Concert, a unique piano performance by Keith Jarrett, for many years. Now, with a wealth of experience behind him, he sets about making this dream come true by means of a synthesis of his influences.

Onstage, we see seven piano stools, one for each performer. A musical score of a surprising nature awaits them. In 1975, on arriving at the Cologne Opera, Keith Jarrett noticed that the piano he was about to play on was not the right one. Despite his annoyance, he embarked upon an hour-long improvisation, the recording of which went on to become one of the highest-selling albums in the history of classical music and jazz: The Köln Concert. Trajal Harrell tackles it in a delicate way, by associating Keith Jarrett’s playing with four melancholic songs by Joni Mitchell. This new work commissioned by the Schauspielhaus Zürich Dance Ensemble, where the choreographer has been Associate artist since 2019, took note of the necessity, in 2020, to limit physical contact during rehearsals. Draped in black, tip-toeing, Trajal Harrell and his six fellow performers render up an individual dance form at the crossover between different genres, in which voguing is blended with influences ranging from Ancient Greek to Noh theatre.