We’re proud to be sponsors of the UK’s National Youth Jazz Orchestra. We asked their Communications Manager, Mariana Curado, to tell us about their unique and wide-ranging work, what they’ve been up to this year and their plans for 2023, including their support for our own Composer Mentoring Programme.
NYJO is a home for young jazz musicians to come together to explore their creativity, develop talent and build skills as performers, composers and educators. We dedicate ourselves to widening access and opportunity for all young people with a passion for jazz. We also work with emerging professionals, providing them with performance and recording opportunities, technical and creative skills development and professional coaching.
From performing to outreach and collaboration
In 2022 we toured the country with a very special programme – Amy Winehouse: A Celebration of Her Life and Music – a tribute to the late beloved pop star. We also collaborated with legendary musicians Hermeto Pascoal and Bob Mintzer, and celebrated the legacy of Thelonious Monk’s Monk at Town Hall recording in a tour with award-winning British saxophonist Tony Kofi.
Our high-profile performances across the country might be what we’re best known for but the work we do with younger musicians is equally important. NYJO’s Learning programme includes: the NYJO Under 18s, a Saturday programme for young jazz musicians at Woolwich Works in London; community outreach projects; and the NYJO Widening Access programme, delivered in partnership with regional educators, hubs and schools and focusing on removing access barriers for young people who want to learn jazz.
Besides working with Widening Access partners in Cardiff, Cumbria, Durham, Humberside, Kent, Lancashire and Leicestershire, we partnered with the Suffolk Community Foundation and SoundSkool to launch the Animate Composer Programme – designed to address imbalances within the music sector by supporting young women and young Black and Brown people to develop new skills.
We also teamed up with Cardboard Citizens, an organisation working with people experiencing homelessness, inequity or poverty. As part of their Cardboard Collective project, NYJO musicians joined jam sessions with the Collective to develop a creative meeting ground between young musicians from different backgrounds.
Coming up in 2023
We are looking forward to starting the new year with our annual residency at London’s iconic jazz club – Ronnie Scott’s – playing the music of the great Chick Corea with saxophone master Tim Garland. Then in March, we will be touring a new programme in celebration of the history and immeasurable talent of Ray Charles, featuring the brilliant BBC Strictly Come Dancing singer Tommy Blaize. We are also delighted to be collaborating with ABRSM on their Composer Mentoring Programme, giving emerging composers the opportunity to write for big band and jazz sextet and the possibility for their music to feature in our programmes.
Finally, our digital offer, NYJO +You, will be made available to young musicians all over the world who want to learn jazz. In line with NYJO’s mission to remove geographical barriers to learning, NYJO +You will bring world-class online learning tools to musicians and educators, wherever they are!
We are so grateful to our funders and partners like ABRSM for their invaluable support and we hope that our close partnership continues for many years. Find out more about NYJO: www.nyjo.org.uk