The National Youth Jazz Orchestra (NYJO) is a charity, whose mission is to promote jazz as an exciting, engaging and inspirational art form through world-class performances and education work. NYJO’s flagship band is the UK’s premier youth (under 26) jazz orchestra, performing around 40 concerts annually – nationally and internationally. Alongside these performances, NYJO delivers inspirational education work wherever it goes. NYJO also operates a weekly Academy, which offers London-based access to jazz ensembles for young musicians of varying levels and abilities.
NYJO has helped launch the careers of many of the UK’s most renowned musicians, including Guy Barker, Amy Winehouse, Mark Nightingale, Laura Jurd and Gwilym Simcock, as well as Dave Arch (leader of the Strictly Come Dancing band) and most of his band members, Martin Koch (musical supervisor for the London Olympics and Paralympics), and many other stalwarts of musicals, films and the studio.
Recent highlights of the flagship band’s concert diary include a yearly residency at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club, performing with Gregory Porter at Buckingham Palace, a major European tour with the German (BuJazzO) and Dutch (NJJO) National Youth Jazz Orchestras, a televised performance at the BBC Proms and repeat appearances at the EFG London Jazz Festival. NYJO celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2015 and released a critically-acclaimed double album NYJO FIFTY.
NYJO’s aim is to offer as many children and young people as possible opportunities to learn about jazz, develop their performance skills and increase their musical aspirations. Young people are at the heart of everything NYJO does and we offer opportunities to engage at a variety of levels; from first experiences of music at Primary level right through to the main world-class orchestra, most of whom go on to join the profession.
Last year we spread the jazz message to over 1,000 young musicians all around the country, in partnership with local music hubs, schools, arts organisations and venues. We currently have 72 active education partnerships and we work with them to develop projects which complement local provision and highlight progression routes within the genre. For talented students in proximity to London, we also run four training bands and a vocal workshop at our weekly NYJO Academy.