German jazz duo “Spiritual Standards” to perform at Carmel Lutheran Church

Pianist Markus Burger and saxophonist Jan von Klewitz will perform in Carmel on Oct. 31, their only show in the Indianapolis area. (Submitted photo)

Pianist Markus Burger and saxophonist Jan von Klewitz will perform in Carmel on Oct. 31, their only show in the Indianapolis area. (Submitted photo)

By Joseph Knoop

The sounds of classical and jazz will be fused together at Carmel Lutheran Church this Halloween, thanks to the German jazz instrumentalists “Spiritual Standards.” The duo of pianist Markus Burger and saxophonist Jan von Klewitz will perform a show called “A Celebration of Luther’s Homeland.”

For Burger, it all began when he made the shift from classical to jazz stylings as a teenager.

“It was a natural process. We both started out as classical players,” Burger said. “Once I realized around 16 that I would never be able to create a career in classical with all the competition. I felt that the way the business was run stressed me out. I was more interested in writing my own music.”

Burger also credits two musically-inclined uncles of his for influencing his musical background. After a youth spent winning a number of jazz competitions, the two ended up meeting in a state honor’s big band. The duo released a number of their own albums, including a self-titled debut in 2000, which rose to No. 20 on the German jazz/alternative charts. They also won the Bach Award from the city of Erfurt for their interpretations of Bach’s work.

Spiritual Standards was also selected by the German state of Saxony-Anhalt to act as the musical ambassadors for the “Luther Decade,” an event designed to mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.

“For us, the entire fascination with the music of Bach was consequently influenced by Lutherans, and Bach was a reformer in his own way,” Burger said. “I would say the Reformation is the single most important moment that basically started, in a way, the age of enlightenment.”

Registration for the event is free at visit-luther.com/carmel. The performance begins at 7 p.m. Oct. 31.

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