What is NYJO?

The National Youth Jazz Orchestra promotes the exciting, engaging and inspirational musical genre through world-class performances and education work.

Since its founding in 1965, NYJO has grown from a single jazz orchestra of emerging professionals to be a multi-faceted organisation that works in jazz education at all levels, and all around the country.

The National Youth Jazz Orchestra Ltd is registered charity number 274578, and limited company (England and Wales) number 1334250.

The Flagship Jazz Orchestra


Our 24-piece Jazz Orchestra remains the gateway to the profession for many future stars of the UK jazz scene, and countless musical theatre and session musicians. NYJO’s alumni include Guy Barker, Laura Jurd, Mark Nightingale and Amy Winehouse, plus the leader of the Strictly Come Dancing band Dave Arch (and most of his band members) and music supervisor for the London 2012 Olympics Martin Koch.

The orchestra performs around 35 gigs each year, including recently the BBC Proms, the EFG London Jazz Festival, European tours with our German and Dutch counterparts BuJazzO and NJJO, and annual residencies at Ronnie Scott’s jazz club. But the Jazz Orchestra is now just part of our offering for emerging professionals, which now also includes small bands, and opportunities to develop as jazz educators and composers.




Learning and Participation

The fastest growing area of NYJO’s work is our national education programme. While some places are well-served by jazz education opportunities, in others it can be more difficult for young potential jazz musicians to progress. We’re now working to change that, and our battle-cry is ‘Levelling the Playing Field in Jazz Education’.

We currently have 90 education partner organisations around the country of which 9 are ‘Feature Partners’, who have signed up for a minimum 3-year partnership to work closely with NYJO developing jazz education opportunities that suit their local needs.



The NYJO Academy


For younger musicians within reach of London, NYJO’s Academy offers improvisation and ensemble training from grade 5-standard upwards, through a combination of notated and aural groups. All our young musicians perform six times a year, and the NYJO Academy hosts free monthly jazz jams for under 18s.




“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, March 2017


Watch some of our recent work with our Jazz Messengers