NYJO - National Youth Jazz Orchestra

NYJO - National Youth Jazz Orchestra

NYJO - National Youth Jazz Orchestra

Selected performance:
Tuesday 1st January - Wednesday 2nd January




The National Youth Jazz Orchestra (NYJO) is one of Britain’s longest-running ensembles for young people under 26 playing big-band jazz. Founded by Bill Ashton OBE in 1965, the orchestra offered aspiring young musicians the opportunity to rehearse, write and gain experience in live performance at a time when UK jazz education was in its infancy. Since then the orchestra and the training bands of the NYJO Academy have met to rehearse almost every Saturday morning to deliver a creatively challenging experience within an informal environment.


NYJO features 23 musicians and vocalists from around the UK, most of whom go on to become professional musicians. Alumni include Guy Barker, Mark Nightingale, Gerard Presencer, Pete Long, Dennis and Winston Rollins and Amy Winehouse. Members are encouraged to write their own arrangements and compositions, thereby creating a diverse repertoire to draw on in addition to classic big band standards.


Along with UK venues ranging from theatres and clubs to the Barbican Hall in London, Symphony Hall in Birmingham and Usher Hall in Edinburgh, NYJO has visited Europe, the USA, Australia and New Zealand and appeared on TV and radio. Projects and workshops with Music Education Hubs and schools are also an important element in NYJO’s schedule, as part of its aim to raise the profile of jazz among young people. Recent highlights have included the orchestra’s annual residency at Ronnie Scott’s, the Gateshead and London Jazz Festivals, a collaboration with the German Youth Jazz Orchestra and multiple national TV and radio appearances including a televised performance in the 2012 BBC Proms.

NYJO has around 40 albums to its credit. The Change, was released to critical acclaim in September 2012. NYJO celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2015 with a year-long programme of events including special performances with guest artists and former members and the recording of a new double album, NYJO FIFTY, released in November 2015. In spring 2015 NYJO announced that HRH The Earl of Wessex KG GCVO has become its Royal Patron and its success in being awarded the prestigious ‘Jazz Educator of the Year’ Award at the All-Party Parliamentary Awards for Jazz 2015.





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