From January 2012, the NYJO performing band will consist of young musicians who have undergone an audition and selection process which has been devised to reflect the realities of professional jazz performance and to allow countrywide opportunities for the best young jazz players to join NYJO.
Auditions and selection for chairs in NYJO 2012 will take place from November – full details are on the Join NYJO page of this website.
NYJO is moving from its old selection protocol, based on demonstrated capability during its open rehearsals, to a transparent selection process. This is in order to position the NYJO performing band as the best of the best in youth big band jazz.
After an extensive period of consulting regional youth jazz orchestras, the Jazz Services Education Panel, The Arts Council and heads of the Conservatoires, the selection process is now in place. NYJO’s Music Director Mark Armstrong will chair a selection panel which includes representation from the Conservatoires and regional youth orchestras as well as two senior jazz musicians. Selection events for NYJO 2012 will be held in Leeds and London.
Mark Armstrong stated: “Change is necessary – previously NYJO was often seen as a great finishing school for session musicians and a lot of our material focussed on sight-reading. Now the professional climate has changed, and much of this work has gone.
“While all the vital skills of reading, being a team player, composing and arranging, guiding less experienced players, etc. still need to addressed, many of our musicians now want a more jazz-oriented experience.
“A deeper engagement with groove and creative improvisation in the widest range of musical styles will help build tomorrow’s community of active jazz musicians. To achieve this we need a performing squad of the best 30-35 young jazz players, regardless of where they are and whatever their background.
“NYJO, NYJO 2 and NYJO London will still be offering open rehearsals every week, and it remains the case that anyone who wants to can find a place in the NYJO learning structure – one of the aims is to make great readers more creative and musically sensitive, and help the creative, sensitive players get better reading chops!
“But the performing band will now be selected, and it’s likely that the very best of the UK’s young jazz players will have considerable ability on both sides of the coin.”
NYJO’s Chief Executive Nigel Tully said “It has taken two years of hard graft to get all of this established. It will probably take a year or two more to make a difference. Youth jazz educators will get up to speed and make it happen for their musicians. Groups that feel they have been under-represented now have a transparent process on which to focus. And if musicians want to be the best of the best, then we have provided a big band route.”
Further rounds of auditions and selection will take place on an annual basis, at around the same time each year.