Also known as the National Youth Jazz Orchestra, NYJO is an organisation dedicated to making jazz and creative music-making more accessible to early-career musicians, young people, and audiences across the country. Throughout our activity, we seek to create a meeting ground between the established and the experimental – the past, present, and future – to build bespoke programmes which cater to lifelong and new jazz fans.
Our main focus is the professional development of emerging artists and our Learning programme for under 18s. We work in close collaboration with likeminded partners to deliver projects that respond to local community needs and create an inclusive learning environment which centres the voices of young people.
We are proud to be an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation and to work towards delivering ACE’s ‘Let’s Create’ strategy to make the arts sector more inclusive and reflective of modern Britain.
We curate exciting performance projects for audiences and emerging professional musicians aged 18-25, underpinned by a programme of Professional Development.
NYJO & Tommy Blaize: Ray Charles
A 19-piece NYJO band is joined on tour by Strictly Come Dancing singer Tommy Blaize to perform the unforgettable songs of one of Ray Charles.
NYJO Presents: Dizzy Gillespie
In this programme, NYJO’s Head of Music, Mark Armstrong, leads a NYJO sextet in celebration of the joyous, ever-green music of one of Jazz’s great iconoclasts.
NYJO & Tony Kofi: Monk at Town Hall
UK Jazz legend Tony Kofi leads a dectet of emerging jazz talent through one of the most seminal live recordings of all time: The Thelonious Monk Orchestra at Town Hall.
We create accessible learning activities for all, providing young people with impactful tools for personal growth through creative music-making.
NYJO Learning: London
Based in Woolwich, NYJO Learning’s work in London includes our Saturday Under 18s programme, Holiday Projects, and Community Outreach.
NYJO Learning: National
Our national programme is based around Widening Access partnerships that respond to our partners’ work and their communities’ needs.
NYJO Under 18s manifesto
Recorded in celebration of International Jazz Day: NYJO Under 18s’ MD Winston Clifford and two of our young musicians discuss their experience in our Saturday programme.
We are passionate about responding to and representing our communities, both locally and nationally, in physical and digital spaces.
NYJO Jazz Messengers
In July 2022, NYJO embarked on a Greenwich Jazz Messengers Schools’ Tour. Through this tour, we aimed to inspire young people to take up an instrument and encourage them to get involved in extra-curricular music-making.
Working in Partnership
Partner working is at the heart of NYJO Learning’s programmes. It is a privilege to share knowledge and experiences with other organisations and to explore ways of supporting one another.
Sherard Road Songbirds
We are partnering with Age UK Greenwich on our community singing group, Sherard Road Songbirds! The choir will allow adults within our community to make friends and find a sense of belonging through music.
Our work is best described by those who benefit from it. Read the stories of NYJO musicians, students, staff, and educators.
A natural performer, creative improviser and talented musician, Leeds native Lucy-Anne Daniels draws inspiration from singers such as Betty Carter, gospel duo Mary Mary and, most pertinently, Amy Winehouse.
Growing up in rural North Devon, Emma didn’t discover jazz until the age of 15, and didn’t pick up a tenor saxophone until a year later, but had spent her childhood otherwise immersed in largely folk and classical music.
After initially pursuing a keen interest in classical music, Dan found his true passion in Jazz – particularly Big Band. As a member of NYJO, Dan has been able to explore his love for Jazz, playing in venues around the country.
Susie leads NYJO and the team.Read more
Head of Music
Mark looks after NYJO's music and musicians.Read more
Mariana leads NYJO's communications.Read more
George looks after NYJO's Emerging Professional musicians.Read more
“Since joining NYJO, I’m so much more confident as a performer. Especially in terms of being able to entertain and keep the crowd engaged with you. It’s really nice to be able to feel that difference.”
Lucy-Anne, NYJO Emerging Professional (Vocals)
“It’s hard to just learn this music in the practice room but being immersed in the music at NYJO is a great environment to really push my playing. ”
Georgia Ayew, NYJO Emerging Professional (Drums)
"Giving them space to create whatever they wanted, without setting parameters of idiom or style helped them to conceptualise how they could bring these new concepts into their work without scaring them off, or mystifying the process."
Sam Eastmond, NYJO Educator
"NYJO has never been conformist, never hewing to one particular line, never known for fawning replications and very deliberately these days a vehicle for new possibilities."
"The past year has been an absolutely incredible experience, pushing me way out of my comfort zone into playing with some of the greatest young jazz players of my generation and getting to call them my colleagues and friends has been beyond inspiring, and also an obscene amount of fun!"
Lydia Cochrane, NYJO Emerging Professional (Saxophone)
"[The NYJO residential in Cumbria] helped me to make friends with other young musicians. I enjoy playing a lot more and I’m quite proud of what I’ve accomplished. I feel more confident now. I have learnt different ways of coming up with solid melodies and also a little bit on harmonies. I think it’s been one of the best experiences I’ve ever had."
Anna, NYJO Learning Widening Access participant
"I’ve felt very fortunate to be surrounded by amazing musicians, and I think that the environment at NYJO – which has fostered creativity and improvisation – has allowed my confidence and musical ideas to grow."
Briony, NYJO Under 18s
"I think I’ve progressed a lot in my piano-playing. NYJO has helped me to flourish and really enjoy it. I’ve really enjoyed being engrossed in a high level of playing and learning things in a hands-on-way. I also like the diversity of perspectives and abilities of all the players and teachers which enables me to try things I might not normally."
Oscar, NYJO Under 18s
"NYJO has got me listening to more jazz and learning more changes. It has also helped with working as a band. I’ve really enjoyed the free jazz, learning by ear, the people, and the atmosphere."
Jennie, NYJO Under 18s
"I love the people at NYJO. Everyone here is so encouraging and lovely and it makes the experience worthwhile. Though I have fun I’m still learning on the way which makes me feel productive too."