Conservatoires UK and NYJO – Teaming Up For Excellence

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Conservatoires UK and the National Youth Jazz Orchestra have teamed up in an historic collaboration that will create a lasting cultural legacy for the education of the UK’s young jazz players.

Conservatoires UK and NYJO – Teaming Up For ExcellenceA unique agreement between CUK and NYJO – building upon various informal partnerships that already exist between NYJO and individual conservatoires – will allow students from the eight member conservatoires to gain professional experience and achieve artistic excellence at a national level.

This newly formalised relationship between CUK and NYJO will help foster a mutually supportive environment in which British youth jazz education is stimulated by the opportunities presented by a peer group of ‘the Best of the Best’. 

Amongst many new initiatives contained within the agreement:

  • CUK students who play with NYJO will be given opportunities to gain first-hand performance experience alongside some of the UK’s leading young jazz performers at both educational and commercial gigs.
  • CUK students will gain access to a broader network of musicians, thereby increasing the likelihood of high-quality professional employment.
  • CUK students will also get the opportunity to write and arrange their own material and have it performed professionally.
  • NYJO and individual conservatoires will agree regional residencies, and summer schools, and determine how NYJO workshops, rehearsals, gigs or compositions can form part of CUK students’ coursework, contribute to their degree studies or help their professional development programme.
  • A fund will be set up to aid those CUK students and NYJO band members who live or study a long way from London.
  • From January 2012 a 30-strong “pool” of musicians will form the core of NYJO, from which 22 players will be selected for concert performances. Membership of the core group will be selected by a committee comprising NYJO Musical Director Mark Armstrong, a representative of CUK, a representative of Regional Youth Jazz Orchestras, and an independent jazz musician of national repute.

The agreement, signed by CUK Chairman Professor John Wallace and NYJO Chairman Nigel Tully, will provide new opportunities for CUK students and give NYJO greater access to a vibrant artistic and academic resource. 
Professor John Wallace said: “I am delighted that CUK is reinforcing its links with NYJO – it is important to instil a real sense of collaboration between the UK’s conservatoires and our great orchestras and this is an excellent starting point.”

Nigel Tully added: “This partnership will help cement NYJO’s role at the centre of British jazz education. I’m particularly glad that our tradition of preparing young musicians for professional life sits so well alongside the training provided by our leading academic institutions, who are clearly giving jazz the attention that this serious art form deserves.”

Honorary Vice President of NYJO Sebastian Coe commented: “I’m very pleased about this exciting new partnership, which confirms what I have long thought – that NYJO is the UK’s elite team for youth jazz. I look forward to even more success for NYJO, on the national and international stages.”

Photographs : © 2011 Laurence Harvey

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