A Company Update | Mark Armstrong, Artistic Director

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A statement from NYJO's Artistic Director, Mark Armstrong.

During these unprecedented times, it goes without saying that our first priority has been to keep everyone in the NYJO family safe and healthy  – but we are also keen to stress that we remain undeterred in our mission to keep the torch burning for young jazz musicians up and down the country.

I’m writing to you all today as I feel it is important to say how sad and disappointed we all are that the current crisis has forced us to suspend our regular NYJO activity. We miss it, of course, but this doesn’t mean we cannot find new ways in which to keep the music flowing.

We are lucky to be living in a time when, despite our necessary physical distance from one another, we are able to stay connected via a host of digital platforms available to us; and I can confirm that the team and I are working on a programme of activities to maintain our progression, creativity and connections to each other as you read this.

It has been heartening to see how so many musicians have already found ways to make their voices (and instruments) heard, and we’re really excited to join the conversation very soon. Look out for updates on how NYJO will be doing this in the very near future, but for now there’s something we’d love you all to get involved in!

As some of you may have already seen, one element already in place is our #IsolationImprovisation Instagram campaign that invites people to upload a one minute video and nominate a friend and inspiration to do the same. Please do participate in this and we can keep people listening and taking part all around the world – visit our nyjouk Instagram feed for more details (and find the original post below!).

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Like all our musical pals, we’re finding solutions to keep spirits up and support the wonderful talent throughout the NYJO family during these uncertain times 👊 ⁣ We’re keeping the music flowing by asking all musicians, wherever they are, to record themselves improvising on their favourite instrument for a one-minute video 🎥 ⁣ Whether it’s a virtual collab, or just you and a pre-recorded track, get your video up asap tagging us (@nyjouk) with #IsolationImprovisation and the instructions above ☝️ ⁣ Kicking things off, it’s our very own Music Director, Mark Armstrong 🎺 ⁣ Nomination 1️⃣ @josephinejazz⁣ Nomination 2️⃣ @ingridjensenmusic⁣ ⁣ #IsolationImprovisation #IsolationImprov #NYJO #Jazz #livemusic #music #musician #musiclife #jazzmaster #jazzmusic #amazingmusicians #livejazz #jazzmusician #jazzlovers #improvise #jazzlover #improv #ballad #trumpets #trumpet #trumpetlife #trumpeter #solo #trumpetplayer #trumpetsolo #brassinstruments #trumpetist #trumpetlovers #trumpetplayers #jazztrumpet @wonderfulmusicians @jazzvideo @the_casual_jazzer @pickupjazz ⁣ ⁣

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I also wanted to tell all the young freelance musicians that we work with, that you are in our thoughts. This is a particularly difficult and uncertain time for all of you, but we have taken steps to ensure that we treat you as fairly as possible in the case of cancelled and postponed engagements. I’d like to thank Claire Furlong and the whole of the office team for moving so swiftly and efficiently to put these arrangements in place. Let’s hope that more can also be done by the government to help the huge network of creative people in music and other sectors who contribute so much to the vibrancy and variety of our culture and society. The more we can all do to lobby for everyone in this position the better.

Although we may be physically isolated, we are not alone. NYJO remains as passionate about supporting and engaging with jazz communities as we ever have. Please pick up the phone. Talk, message, be kind to each other, and I’m sure we’ll come out of the other side better for it.

This situation has also given us the opportunity to find new ways to collaborate and create some fantastic content that will benefit everyone. I know this will mean we are all raring to go when we can finally re-assemble in person as the NYJO family once again.

Stay safe,


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