NYJO to appear at the 2018 BBC Proms

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NYJO is delighted to announce that it has been booked to perform at the 2018 BBC Proms.  Prom 46, a late Prom, will explore the symphonic depth of the jazz orchestra with a programme combining old and new. Opening the evening will be a new commission by Mercury Award nominee Laura Jurd, which forms part of NYJO’s 2018 EQ Project: remixing the gender balance in jazz and is supported by PRS Foundation’s The Open Fund. NYJO will then be joined on stage by alumnus Guy Barker MBE and special guest soloist Benjamin Grosvenor for a performance of the original band version of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, and the set is completed by the Stan Kenton Orchestra’s highly acclaimed but rarely performed big-band version of West Side Story.  General booking for the BBC Proms opens on 12 May.


Prom 46 Thursday 16 August – 22.15-23.30


LAURA JURD – New commission, title to be announced

GERSHWIN arr. Grofé – Rhapsody in Blue (original band version)

BERNSTEIN arr. Johnny Richards – Stan Kenton’s West Side Story


Mark Armstrong – conductor

Benjamin Grosvenor – piano (Rhapsody in Blue)

Guy Barker – conductor (Rhapsody in Blue)


NYJO’s Artistic Director Mark Armstrong says:I am really excited that we are part of the 2018 Proms programme. Our programme reflects many of the artistic aims of NYJO: to play great canonical works balanced with more contemporary jazz, providing our players and the audience with a colourful variety of styles in our concerts. I am very happy to be handing conducting duties to Guy Barker for Rhapsody in Blue and I am sure it will be a great thrill and privilege for our musicians to work with him and our soloist Benjamin Grosvenor in a piece that for many represents the ideal interface between classical and jazz styles, in the original Paul Whiteman jazz band configuration. The Bernstein arrangement by Jonny Richards is a huge big band monument and a challenge for any band but I am excited to begin exploring its rich textures and massive energy with NYJO. Our brand-new opening number by Laura Jurd gives us the opportunity to demonstrate the stylistic breadth of our players and present some new music to the audience showing how jazz is a living breathing style, with innovations built on a thorough understanding and respect for the history and legacy of the music.”


NYJO’s Executive Chair Nigel Tully MBE says: “The BBC Proms represents the best of British and international classical music-making, and it is a great honour for NYJO to be welcomed once again into that fold. We of course see jazz as an equal music to classical, and one glance at our programme for this performance will tell you that Bernstein and Gershwin agreed!”


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