Apply for the National Youth Jazz Orchestra

Applications to join NYJO are now open!

Are You

  • 24 or under?
  • Preparing for or embarking on a career in jazz, musical theatre or session-playing?
  • Seeking to develop your sight-reading, ensemble playing and interpretation skills?
  • OR a composer keen to develop skills writing and arranging for big band?
  • Do you want to learn from and perform with the best in the business?


Then the National Youth Jazz Orchestra would like to meet you!


NYJO is a 23-piece orchestra of emerging professional musicians that meets each Saturday morning to rehearse, and performs around 35 PAID concerts, broadcasts and recordings per year.

Once accepted, musicians are offered a place for two years, at the end of which they can choose to graduate or re-audition. As this limited tenure policy is new, more Chairs in the orchestra are open to applications this year than before.

Also new for this year – we are accepting composers!


Chairs open for recruitment in 2019:

Alto Saxophone Flute Percussion
Tenor Saxophone French Horn Drums
3x Trumpets (2 jazz, 1 lead) Piano 1x female vocal
4x Trombones Bass 2x male vocal
Bass Trombone Guitar



In addition to recruiting for each Chair, we also want to build our list of deputies. And all audition candidates will receive feedback detailing development points and suggesting progression opportunities.


Why should I apply to join NYJO

Apply for the National Youth Jazz Orchestra

Membership of The National Youth Jazz Orchestra offers development opportunities to musicians up to the age of 25 committed to pursuing a career in jazz, show- or session-playing. It also helps to build your professional networks, and supports your skills in music education, and composing and arranging too.

Weekly Saturday morning rehearsals under MD Mark Armstrong, Associate MD Winston Rollins and guest MDs develop professional-level skills in sight-reading, ensemble playing, and interpretation of a wide variety of musical styles and improvisation. The ensemble performs around 35 times a year around the country and abroad; recent prestigious appearances have included BBC Proms, Ronnie Scott’s, Cheltenham Festival, Buckingham Palace, Kings Place, The Sage Gateshead. We regularly collaborate with top musicians including recently Yazz Ahmed, Laura Jurd, The Swingles, Guy Barker and Clare Teal, and we tour internationally.

Unlike many other ‘youth’ organisations, NYJO pays its musicians for performances, broadcasts and for assisting in delivering education work to children and young people around the country.

Once a member of the jazz orchestra, members may be invited to join one of NYJO’s smaller ensembles e.g. the Nonet or Quintet, that play regular gigs at smaller venues and festivals.

And as well as playing, members will have the opportunity to develop their workshop-leading, their composing and arranging, and be invited to regular talks on complementary subjects including hearing health, union membership, funding applications and more.

Our musicians tell us that what we offer is the perfect complement to their higher education course – whether they joined us as a student or graduate. But we also welcome those who learned through non-traditional routes.

Apply for the National Youth Jazz Orchestra

Click here for details about how to apply


Apply for the National Youth Jazz Orchestra

NYJO performing at the BBC Proms, August 2018