Nigel Tully MBE retires as NYJO Chair

March 29, 2023
We are sad to announce the retirement of Nigel Tully MBE as Chair of Trustees.


Nigel Tully steps down after 14 years a Chair of NYJO, having worked tirelessly as the charity’s Executive Chair from 2009 to 2021. During his tenure he has rebuilt the charity from a point of crisis, transforming it from a single big band of young jazz musicians to a national education organisation, helping young people of all ability levels and backgrounds to benefit from the opportunity to play and understand jazz. He has stabilised NYJO’s finances, widened the range of music performed and the number and size of ensembles it operated; he spearheaded the organisation’s efforts to become more diverse and inclusive, and forged partnerships with key educators nationally and internationally.

During the pandemic, Nigel led the development of NYJO’s innovative online learning platform, which will continue to be a part of our Learning offer for years to come. His final achievement as Chair has been to oversee the receipt of a transformative legacy of over £1,000,000, and we are therefore delighted that upon stepping down from the Board of Trustees Nigel will maintain a close ongoing association with the charity as Chair of our Legacy Club.

For his contributions, in time, invaluable experience, and generous donations throughout the years, we thank him.



On his retirement, Nigel Tully commented:

I have long believed that jazz is seriously under-valued in the UK, and it has been a privilege to contribute to the improving recognition of this great art form by leading NYJO for the last 14 years. It has been a tremendous pleasure to see so many excellent young musicians emerge from NYJO into the profession as rising stars, and equally inspiring to see thousands of young people benefit from jazz education as part of their preparation for life. I’ve listened to some amazing music, worked with inspirational musicians and educators, and benefitted from the generosity and support of friends and colleagues who will always have my gratitude.

Susie York Skinner, NYJO Chief Executive added:

I have been beyond lucky to have worked alongside Nigel Tully for the last two years. Nigel has been so supportive, and I am grateful for all of the time that he has continued to devote to NYJO, despite his many previous years of dedicated service. As Executive Chair he left the strongest of foundations on which to build and I am honoured by the trust that he and the board of trustees have placed in me, and excited to take NYJO on to even greater things in the future.

Lucy-Anne (EP quote)

“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)

Georgia (EP quote)

“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)

Sam Eastmond (MD quote)

"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

Jazzwise quote

"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."

Jazzwise Magazine

Lydia (EP quote)

"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)

Anna (Learning national quote)

"[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

Briony (Learning U18s quote)

"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

Oscar (Learning U18s quote)

"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

Jennie (Learning U18s quote)

"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

Leah-Anais (Learning U18s quote)

"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."

Leah-Anais, NYJO Under 18s

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