Trumpet Player Jens Lindemann Delivers Music to Pacific Palisades
By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief
After living in the Highlands with his wife for the past 15 years, world-renowned trumpet player Jens Lindemann has used safer at home orders in place during the pandemic to get to know his neighbors and fall in love with Pacific Palisades by bringing music home.
Classically trained at Juilliard School in New York and McGill University in Montreal, Lindemann has performed as a soloist and recording artist with classical stars, including Sir Neville Marriner, Sir Angel Romero, Pinchas Zukerman, Kent Nagano and others. He was the first classical brass soloist to ever receive the Order of Canada and was recently named “International Brass Personality of the Year” by Brass Herald.
“My life here in LA the last 20 years has been teaching at UCLA, and when I finish teaching, I’m in a plane traveling around the world,” Lindemann explained. “I’ve literally used my house as a flop pad for 15 years. Now that I’m here, I’m digging it. I’ve fallen in love with my neighbors.”
When the pandemic hit and Lindemann was essentially grounded, he began by playing trumpet from his balcony for his neighbors, with his wife on electronic piano. As word got around, he modulated into a back-alley performance, which he said he affectionately dubbed “The Highlands Bowl.”
“We were inspired by what many other people were inspired by when this whole corona pandemic hit,” Lindemann said. “There was a lot of silence.”
What began as Lindemann and his wife morphed into a small combo, leading up to what he planned to be the final show with a 15-piece big band, with each of the musicians eight feet apart within a 1,000-square-foot area at the end of the driveway.
“Everybody was masked up, sitting in small groups amongst themselves as family units, and they loved it,” he shared.
Each of the now seven shows have included classical music, pieces from the Great American Songbook, pop tunes and more.
Lindemann emphasized how important it is for everyone involved to follow social distancing measures throughout the show, which takes place on private, homeowners’ land.
Though most of the musicians Lindemann has asked to join have immediately said yes, some have declined, saying that they prefer to wait until things normalize. But the first question those who agree to play ask is: “How do we do this?”
“The last thing in the world we would ever want to do would be some of these mosh pit-style shows that you’re seeing around the country with people pretending that it’s business as usual and hunkered up against each other dancing,” he explained.
The feedback he has received from neighbors has been overwhelmingly positive—so positive that he was encouraged to take on another show after his second “grand finale,” which was meant to take place in August.
“My philosophy behind it, why I’m encouraging it to happen up here in the way that we’re doing it, it’s the same basic principle if we are comfortable enough to figure out a way to go into Gelson’s … and be socially distanced and take care of the needs we have every day,” Lindemann said, “we should be able to police ourselves—in a very similar situation like this—where all we are doing is providing a service for people to enjoy time outside and time together.”
The thank yous he has received have touched on the fact that something musical is happening at all, with public performances largely shut down for the time being. Neighbors have also thanked Lindemann for bringing the community together.
“Even I, who have been here 15 years, I know every single neighbor now in the 12 townhomes row and that’s because I travel as a professional musician for a living and I was never here,” Lindemann said. “I’ve actually learned to fall in love with my community and my views and I like being at home in a weird way, at least for a while.”
Lindemann added that he is very aware that the threat of COVID-19 is real. He shared that he has had two close friends on ventilators that eventually pulled through, but that he wants the shows to unify the community together.
Lindemann’s latest plans include a series of concerts that will run into December every three weeks or so.
“I believe very, very adamantly, as a musician and as a performer, my charge in life is to serve people—it’s not about me, it’s about giving something back to an audience,” he concluded. “I am trying every clever way possible to say to people, the music will not stop, we are going to find a way to deliver it to you and we’re going to do it in your terms, but I’m not one of these guys that’s going to sit back and wait for the white flag to come down.”
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