Monday, 11 February 2013 11:19

NYJO announces new rehearsal structure and opening for MD

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Jazz Services has revceived the following press release from our friends at NYJO, with news of the expanded rehearsal structure for the organisation.

NYJO is also advertising for the hiring of a new MD for the NYJO Jazz Ensemble - further details and application information can be found on their website at the following link:



NYJO announces its new configuration – NYJO and The NYJO Academy

 Following an extraordinarily successful year in 2012 (including performances at the BBC Prom, Snape Maltings and a critically-acclaimed new album THE CHANGE) and consequent increased demand for NYJO’s activities, the NYJO rehearsal structure will change and expand.

 The successful autumn 2012 move to the London Centre of Contemporary Music has enabled NYJO to consider this expansion and a more structured set of rehearsal and workshop arrangements. NYJO is therefore pleased to announce a new concept: the NYJO Academy, which will encompass all NYJO’s educational workshops for younger musicians, as a linked but separate activity to the rehearsals for the main gigging band.

 From February 2013, the  NYJO Academy will run the following Saturday workshops, an increase on previous activity:

- The NYJO Jazz Ensemble. 10am. Guideline: up to age 16, approximate standard ABRSM classical grades 3-5 or jazz grades 2-4. Focuses on ensemble performance skills in a large jazz ensemble: an introduction to standard big band repertoire, interpreting notation, familiarity with a variety of grooves from jazz and related genres and jazz improvisation. Acting MD: Tom Stone (post to be recruited).

- The NYJO Academy Big Band. 10am. Guideline: This band is for musicians with technical abilities and musical qualifications that suggest a possible professional career, but who are not yet ready for the NYJO main band. For most the age range would be 17+, but exceptional younger players would be considered. More complex and demanding repertoire, some written for the NYJO main band or other professional level compositions and arrangements. Experience in large jazz ensemble performance is expected, with music reading, improvisational abilities and overall jazz style developing well. A possible preparatory route for audition/selection for the main NYJO performing ensemble. MD: Paul Eshelby.

- The NYJO Academy Vocal Workshop. 10.30am. For singers who are keen to experience and develop their skills in jazz vocal singing. The workshop will be more integrated with the other ensembles and will include the chance to sing with a band each week. Coach: Jess Dowdeswell.

- NYJO London. 2pm. Guideline: up to 18. Focuses on smaller ensemble and improvisation skills. The ability to sight-read to a fair level would be useful. MD: Phil Meadows.

In addition, the main gigging band (NYJO) will rehearse starting at 10.30am. Participation in this will be strictly by audition or invitation of MD Mark Armstrong. NYJO now runs yearly auditions in London and a northern city. With the support of the Musicians’ Benevolent Fund NYJO is able to offer travel bursaries to rehearsals and gigs for exceptionally talented musicians in higher education outside of London so that distance and finance need be no hindrance to participation.

NYJO Executive Chairman Nigel Tully commented:

"This new structure will improve the learning opportunities for students whilst giving more focus to individual development of ensemble jazz playing and improvisation skills for instrumentalists and singers. It will also enable us to work more closely with Music Hubs and other partners."

NYJO MD Mark Armstrong noted:

"It’s a hugely exciting time for the whole organisation and I’m delighted that, despite these straightened times, we are actually able to expand our offering to young musicians developing a passion for jazz. I look forward with huge interest to following their progress!"


The National Youth Jazz Orchestra is one of Britain’s longest-running ensembles for young people under 25 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 its training bands 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 country, 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 from 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. Schools concerts and workshops 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 debut at the Vortex Jazz Club in London, gigs at the Wigan and Scarborough Jazz Festivals, multiple national TV and radio appearances including a televised performance in the BBC Proms and the appointment of Mark Armstrong as Artistic and Music Director. 2013 gigs include the Gateshead International Jazz Festival and the annual residency at Ronnie Scott’s.

Media Enquiries: Stephen Chamberlain E: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it T: 020 7494 1733