NYJO 2020 | A Year Review

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Happy New Year! Before we look forward to 2021, we decided to take a look back at what has been quite a 12 months!


NYJO 2020 | A Year Review

Mark Awarded Fellowship by Royal College of Music

May kicked off with some nice news for our Artistic Director. The first month of summer began with Mark being awarded a fellowship by the Royal College of Music. Shortly after the ceremony, we caught up with Mark to discuss the fellowship, his reflections on his time with NYJO and his thoughts on the ongoing situation.

Click on the image to read the interview in-full!

NYJO 2020 | A Year Review
Mark is presented the fellowship by HRH the Prince of Wales

NYJO Learning Goes Online!

With all activities still ground to a halt, it was time we put a programme together that allowed us to stay connected to all of the young musicians we aim to engage and inspire every year. The launch of the Virtual Academy was a fantastic opportunity for us to learn a new way to reach more people than ever before and was the very first digital offering from NYJO.

What turned out to be a daunting exercise has since become a vital part of our future plans, long after we’ve left this pandemic behind us. A library of interactive backing tracks (NYJO Minus One), video support, exclusive commissions and a whole lot of collaboration saw us deliver some fantastic content to learners of all ages.

Music Director, Winston Rollins, takes you through “Lady be Good”.

A month into the project and we found the content was not only finding fans in the UK, but music teachers and young musicians in various places around the globe. To check in on the progress our students were making, our royal patron HRH the Earl of Wessex hopped onto a Zoom call for a quick chat with a selection of NYJO Academy members from around the UK to discuss how they’ve been able to maintain a sense of community through these online tools and events.

Check out our short film below!

We’re incredibly proud of all the efforts of those who joined us to support jazz education online this year. If you’d like to check out all of the FREE content available on our site right now, just click here!

Mental Health Awareness

The 18-24 May was Mental Health Awareness Week here in the UK. We have all become a lot more familiar with the devastating effects this pandemic has had on the mental health of many members of our society, but as the start of this period our Head of Professional Development, Roger Wilson, was a champion for support in this area for everyone associated with the charity.

By the end of the week, we had heard from a lot of our band-members after reaching out, so we pooled their comments alongside Roger’s own thoughts for a post we thought might provide some warmth for the rest of those our network.

Read Roger’s post by click the image below:

NYJO 2020 | A Year Review

The Mental Health Foundation is part of the national mental health response during the coronavirus outbreak. Government advice designed to keep us safe is under constant review and will be different depending on where you live: more details and up to date information here.

Professional Development Sessions

On the topic of Mr. Wilson’s contributions and NYJO’s commitment to online learning, we would like to highlight the incredible list of Pro-Dev Sessions that have taken place online since May for all of our band-members.

NYJO 2020 | A Year Review
Left: Stephen Hussey, Steve Lawson Right: Amelia Ideh, Maria Schneider

Whether it’s Marketing, promotion, music law or an insightful set of performance tools each speaker has brought with them a unique set of insights and experiences ideally suited for contemporary musicians at the onset of their careers.

Massive thanks to each of our session leaders this year, including:

Amelia Ideh | The Musician’s Marketing Tool Kit                             

Stephen Hussey | Arranging for Electric and Acoustic Instruments

Stephen Hussey | Learning to use Logic

Fred Bolza | Developing a Digital Strategy

Steve Lawson | Developing your Online Profile

Gerard McChystal | Getting the most from Online Instrumental Teaching

Martel Ollerenshaw | Fundraising for Your Creative Project

Kevin Robinson | Becoming a Successful Musician in Today’s Industry

Pete Long | Leading from the Front   

Dick Oatts | Leading from the Front 

Alex Spofforth | Tax in the Time of Covid

Alex Spofforth | Tax for Musicians

Ingrid Jensen | A Conversation With…

Miho Hazama | A Conversation With…

Maria Schneider| A Conversation With…

Dave Kikoski | A Conversation With…

Gabi Huckins | Pitching for film and television

Adam Goldsmith | The Art of the Rhythm Section

Caroline Boaden | The Art of the Rhythm Section

Carl Allen | The Art of the Rhythm Section

Claire Martin | The professional Jazz Singer

Wulfhardt Muller | Jazz in the  record industry today

Amy Pearce | The truth About Getting Gigs

Trevor Mires | A Conversation With…

Michael League | A Conversation With…

Martin Taylor | A Conversation With…

Robin Eubanks | A Conversation With…

Gabi Huckins | Sharing Copyright for Co-Creators

Like all of our other online projects, we will continue to provide digital support alongside our regular activities once we can return to physical spaces. If you would like to register your interest to become a part of our online community, please contact us in the New Year.

NYJO 2020 | A Year Review

Black Out Tuesday

On Tuesday 2nd June we observed Black Out Tuesday. #TheShowMustBePaused campaign was an initiative created by Atlantic Records exec Jamila Thomas and Brianna Agyemang, as a call to action that also included a collection of Anti-Racism Resources.

NYJO 2020 | A Year Review
You can read our original statement here.

We recognised that this was only a small gesture, and that this moment should lead us to come together and discuss our own efforts as a music charity in the fight against racial inequality. We have a privileged position in so many ways. This privilege extends to our opportunity to influence, educate and support the next generation of musicians, as well as the audiences they seek to inspire. We have a responsibility to lead by example.

As an entity that seeks to champion a black art-form, we collectively acknowledged that it is of paramount importance that we address the issues raised by our black communities. We also acknowledge that a major flaw in our approach – educationally and artistically – is that, in many instances we have not manufactured activities that uphold jazz music’s social and cultural intent. 

Since its inception, jazz has been an art-form fashioned by young musicians seeking new modes of expression, and in order to be seen as a part of its future, our offering must successfully and authentically explore the ever-changing times that shape each generations’ sensibilities.

We understand that a new version of the charity must be braver, more ambitious, and reflect the contemporary music landscape, the eclectic mix of artists within it, and the audiences that support their work and shares common attitudes.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of those who have helped us grow as an organisation this year, including Music Masters and their Inclusive Music Index as well as Ben, Marcus and the entire Signifier team.

2021 will be the start of new era for the charity and we can’t wait to get started.

NYJO 2020 | A Year Review

NYJO Find Their First Home

After silently (and excitedly) waiting on the official announcement date, July finally gave us the opportunity to announce our first ever permanent home!

As a Resident Artistic Company at Woolwich Works – a council-led project that spans five historic industrial buildings on the Royal Arsenal – NYJO will be one of many local, national and internationally acclaimed artists in residence including world-renowned theatre company Punchdrunk, Europe’s first majority black and minority ethnic orchestra Chineke! Orchestra, Greenwich-based dance company Luca Silvestrini’s Protein and the Woolwich Contemporary Print Fair

NYJO 2020 | A Year Review
Studio at Woolwich Works (render)

All of Woolwich Work’s artists in residence will work with the local community on a number of projects once the district launches. NYJO sees the success of its community projects currently in development as one of the most important aspects of the move. Working with the community to develop young people’s musical and social skills will be one of many outreach initiatives designed to create a long-term connection with the surrounding area and the people within it.

Click here to read the full announcement from July.

The NYJO Family Celebrates Success at the Parliamentary Jazz Awards

At the very start of the month, NYJO saw a host of familiar names in the winners list for the Parliamentary Jazz Awards in 2020. The winners included several newcomers such as NYJO Alumn Luca Manning, who received the Jazz Newcomer of the Year shortly after a wonderful stint with the Orchestra. We were also thrilled to see our friend Nikki Iles pick up the prize for Jazz Ensemble of the Year.

Luca delivers a heartfelt message via social media.

The nomination list also featured a host of names belonging to many other musicians that we have been fortunate enough to work with over the years, including Rob Luft (Best Jazz Instrumentalist), Rosina Bullen (Best Newcomer), Alexandra Ridout (Best Newcomer) and Bonsai band-members: Rory Ingham and Jonny Mansfield (Best Newcomer).

Congratulations to everyone involved once again!

NYJO 2020 | A Year Review

NYJO Ambassadors Play Live!

August finally presented us with a unique opportunity: to play some live music! On Thursday 12th August, a NYJO Ambassador super-group took a seaside trip to Deal in Kent to record some exclusive content for Deal Music & Arts digital programme, which launched the following month.

NYJO 2020 | A Year Review
The group perform (safely) at St. George’s Church, Deal.

For the past four years, we have loved working with Deal Music & Arts as part of our Learning & Participation programme. In many cases DMA is the sole provider of arts learning to those is the surrounding area and it’s important to us that we find national partners that clearly care about keeping music alive in their local community, and with the DMA team we’ve done just that.

The band run through Dizzy Gillespie’s “A Night in Tunisia”.

The group, led by NYJO Associate Educator Joe Browne, consisted of Harry Evans (Trumpet), Daniel Higham (Trombone), Charlie Bates (Keys), Arthur O’Hara (Bass) and Jas Kayser (Drums).

Due to the pandemic, arts learning has been put even further out of reach for lots of young people, and many can be entirely reliant on their school’s ethos toward the arts. We’re hopeful that projects like these provide support to those who might otherwise find it very difficult to connect with others via their love of playing music.

Thanks to everyone at Deal Music & Arts for putting together such a great programme of events.

Watch the entire performance here!

To check out more content from Deal Music & Arts ‘Creative Jazz Weekend’, including insights from the Ambassadors – click here!

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