NYJO awarded Arts Council England 'National Portfolio Organisation' Funding

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Following Tuesday’s news the full press release is below:

The National Youth Jazz Orchestra (NYJO) is hugely delighted to announce it will become an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation for 2015-18, receiving £125,000 a year in investment from the Arts Council over this period. This significant award reflects NYJO’s ambitious plans to give more great performances, to more areas of the country – always engaging with children and young people.

The Arts Council’s National Portfolio Organisations represent some of the best arts practice in the world and play a vital role in achieving their mission of great art and culture for everyone.

NYJO Executive Chairman Nigel Tully said:

“This is fantastic news and crucial recognition of NYJO’s development over the recent years and its increasing artistic and educational profile. In the last few days NYJO has given inspirational performances and worked with children in Blackburn and Norwich, set-up a regular all-comers youth jazz jam session in London and delivered its weekly series of four NYJO Academy big band and vocal workshops. NYJO will now work enthusiastically on increasing this activity and implementing our plans – to be an evangelist for jazz and to have a greater role in the musical and cultural life of the nation. “

NYJO Music & Artistic Director Mark Armstrong commented:

“It’s great to see jazz celebrated and represented in such a high profile way by the Arts Council. Increasingly, people are realising how powerful this art form can be both in generating memorable performances and as an educational tool that takes music away from the page and where it always should be – in the ears and soul of listeners and players.”


NYJO awarded Arts Council England 'National Portfolio Organisation' Funding


The National Youth Jazz Orchestra is one of Britain’s longest-running ensembles for young people under 25 playing big-band jazz. Founded by Bill Ashton OBE in 1965, the orchestra offered aspiring young musicians the opportunity to rehearse, write and gain experience in live performance at a time when UK jazz education was in its infancy. Since then the orchestra and its training bands have met to rehearse almost every Saturday morning to deliver a creatively challenging experience within an informal environment.

NYJO features 23 musicians and vocalists from around the country, most of whom go on to become professional musicians. Alumni include Guy Barker, Mark Nightingale, Gerard Presencer, Pete Long, Dennis and Winston Rollins and Amy Winehouse. Members are encouraged to write their own arrangements and compositions, thereby creating a diverse repertoire to draw from in addition to classic big-band standards.

Along with UK venues ranging from theatres and clubs to the Barbican Hall in London, Symphony Hall in Birmingham and Usher Hall in Edinburgh, NYJO has visited Europe, the USA, Australia and New Zealand and appeared on TV and radio. Schools concerts and projects with Music Education Hubs are also an important element in NYJO’s schedule, as part of its aim to raise the profile of jazz among young people. Recent highlights have included the orchestra’s annual residency at Ronnie Scott’s, the Gateshead and EFG London Jazz Festivals and multiple national TV and radio appearances including a televised performance in the 2012 BBC Proms in last year.

The National Youth Jazz Orchestra has around 40 albums to its credit. Its latest album, The Change, was released to critical acclaim in September 2012.


Full information on the new Arts Council England National Portfolio can be found here:



Media Enquiries: Stephen Chamberlain E: stephen@nyjo.mrsdemo3.co.uk T: 020 7494 1733

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