NYJO’s Learning & Participation programme has the broad aim of ‘levelling the playing field in jazz education’ and each year we give opportunities to thousands of young people to engage with the music and develop their skills, ranging from their first experience of live music to support in entering higher education and the profession.
Our Artistic Director, Mark Armstrong, is instrumental in leading many of the workshops, masterclasses and concerts in this programme but in order to deliver work on such a large scale we are proud to have an experienced and passionate team of Associate Educators who help us spread the jazz message to every corner of the country.
Read on to find out more about each of the NYJO Associate Educators:
Adam is a composer, pianist and educator based in London and teaches at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. Adam works with many of the U.K’s leading music organisations including the National Youth Orchestra and the Southbank Centre. He is a consultant for Trinity College London, Musical Futures International, SingUp and the Abram Wilson Foundation.
In 2016, Adam composed the score for a brand new musical, ‘Grace’ which premiered at The New Wimbledon Theatre. His most recent commission, ‘Thames Tales’, premiered at the Royal Albert Hall and was orchestrated for big band, strings and 1200 children from the London Borough of Merton. Other recent commissions include Hertford Symphony Orchestra, Wimbledon International Music Festival, Hertfordshire Festival of Music and the Tower of London.
Adam was also a member of the UK’s leading jazz choir, ‘The London Vocal Project’ and can be heard singing tenor on the late Kenny Wheeler album entitled ‘Mirrors’ released by Edition records. Adam recently wrote the arrangements for jazz singer Josie Florence’s E.P. ‘Nightingale’.
After completing post graduate studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Amy established herself on the London jazz scene, accompanying many of Britain’s most accomplished artists including:
Kenny Wheeler, Bobbly Wellins, Liane Carroll and Tina May.
As well as a busy playing schedule, Amy is also an enthusiastic educator. She is highly involved with many projects helping to introduce young
people to jazz and improvisation, including the ‘Girls in Jazz Day’ at Trinity Laban Conservatoire.
Andrea Vicari made her mark on the jazz scene both as a pianist and composer. Alongside her performing career she is a jazz piano professor and senior lecturer at Trinity Laban conservatoire – one of the leading colleges in the UK for jazz. She’s an inspirational role model for young musicians and maintains a busy performing schedule across the UK and Europe alongside musicians such as Claude Deppa, Steve Waterman, Mornington Lockett and Art Farmer.
This autumn, Andrea will be travelling to Cumbria & Lancashire for NYJO, leading workshops in schools; inspiring young musicians to take part in the NYJO Regional Academies in the North West.
After completing a degree in English Literature, Joe pursued postgraduate studies in jazz saxophone from Birmingham Conservatoire and Berklee College of Music. Joe regularly leads workshops for such organisations as Trinity Laban Conservatoire, The London Philharmonic Orchestra and The Orchestra of The Age of Enlightenment. He is Musical Director of Arts Without Boundaries – a new charity which delivers music and arts workshops to adults and young people with special educational needs and disabilities – and has led similarly inclusive ensembles for Surrey Arts’ award winning UP! Orchestra and Kent Music’s Orchestra ONE.
In 2016 Joe was appointed Musical Director of Deal Music and Arts’ jazz programme, in partnership with the National Youth Jazz Orchestra. The programme aims to deliver regular workshops in Kent, teaching the rudiments of jazz improvisation and performance, as well as approaches to group composition.
Over the last few years Bedfordshire born Nikki Iles has progressed into the front rank of British jazz musicians. In 1996, Nikki won the John Dankworth Special Award at the BT British Jazz Awards and that same year recorded a duo CD, Treasure Trove, with Stan Sulzmann. Many nominations followed; four for the prestigious Paul Hamlyn Composition Award , two nominations for the Best Ensemble (The Printmakers) and most recently, The Jazz Piano category of the British Jazz Awards. (2012 and 2014). Nikki is also a recognised composer, celebrating the role of women in jazz, several from New Perspectives, in particular “In All My Holy Mountain” with poet Roger Garfitt (1998 – 2001), a piece for the London Sinfonietta Ellington Celebrations (1999), and Tim Garland’s Northern Underground Band (2006) and a commission from NYJO, performed at the Proms (2012).
Astonishingly, Nikki’s busy performance schedule has not prevented her from developing a parallel career as a widely respected teacher and she has acted as a tutor at numerous workshops and summer schools around the world whilst maintaining active links, lecturing with The Royal Academy of Music and Middlesex University. Her education work was recognised through her nominations at the 2007 and 2009 Parliamentary Jazz Awards for Services to Jazz education.
Described as ‘a brilliant young pianist’ (Alyn Shipton, The Guardian) Paul Edis is a performer, composer, educator and promoter based in the North East England. He has released several albums with his sextet, with saxophonist Vasilis Xenopoulos, the Ushaw Ensemble and as a solo artist. His music has been performed on the radio in the UK, in Europe and in the US. Paul regularly receives commissions to compose and arrange new music for all sorts of line-ups and occasions. In 2019, Paul has been given the title of Associate Artist for Sage Gateshead.
Working in music education, Paul has been course leader for the BMus Jazz Popular and Commercial Music degree at Sage Gateshead, he has given lectures and taught for Newcastle, Durham and York universities and he regularly gives workshops, talks and masterclasses for musicians of all ages. He has an MA and PhD in Composition from the University of York, and was chosen as one of the Headley Fellows by Trinity Laban when he studied for a PGDip on the Teaching Musician course. Paul also promotes successful jazz concert series in Durham and Newcastle, and he has been director of the Ushaw Jazz Festival since 2016.
Peter Edwards is a pianist, composer and musical director. He is the 2015 Parliamentary Jazz Awards ‘Newcomer of the year’ and was among the nominees for the 2015 Jazz FM ‘Breakthrough Artist’ award. He works with acclaimed artists Mica Paris and Zara McFarlane, directs the Nu Civilisation Orchestra and is a 2017 New Music Biennial commissioned composer.
Peter graduated with a Masters in Jazz from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in 2009. Participation in the Tomorrowʼs Warriors young artist development programme gave him the opportunity to sharpen his performance and compositional skills under the guidance of Gary Crosby OBE and is now the leader of their NuCivilisation Orchestra.
Pete Letanka is a professional jazz pianist, composer and educator. He studied Jazz and contemporary music at Leeds College of Music, where he won a scholarship to spend a year studying under (Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition winner) Mark Polishook at the University of Maine, USA. He graduated in 1997 with a 1st class BA (hons) and the Leeds University Armes award for the highest mark in the year.
As a composer, Pete has been collaborated with the BBC Concert Orchestra, Jazz at Lincoln Centre and Royal Opera House, alongside many others. He’s also in demand as a performer and regularly seen gracing the stages for jazz clubs and concerts hall across Europe. He is passionate about inspiring young people to find new confidence through composition and improvisation and has led projects in schools, arts centres and prisons across the UK as well as abroad in South Africa, India, Lebanon, Spain and Portugal.
Pete has worked with NYJO for many years, and is our resident expert on jazz and improvisation in primary schools. This term he has taken the jazz message to schools in Ealing and Wiltshire as well as leading training days for NYJO’s young aspiring educators.
Simon Purcell is one of Britain’s most accomplished contemporary jazz pianists. A graduate of Trinity College of Music, he has performed both as leader and sideman with amongst others – Red Rodney, Kenny Wheeler, Eddie Henderson, Stan Sulzmann, Jean Tousaint, Valerie Ponomarev, Dale Barlow, Gene Calderazzo, Julian Arguelles, Julian Siegel, Conrad Erwig, and Steve Williamson.
Head of Jazz at Trinity Laban Conservatoire between 2005-2017 and member of the Pop and Jazz Steering Group for the Association of European Conservatoires between 2008-2018, Simon is a committed educationalist, the author of published educational research and a highly-respected teacher. He has recently stepped down from these positions in order to realign his attention towards working with (mentoring) teachers and to return to the performing arena.
Vij studied the trombone at Chetham’s School of Music before going to Cambridge University to study music. Since moving to London and graduating from the Guildhall School of Music’s Jazz Masters’ Course, Vij was offered the Jazz Fellowship post there. Through his own musical projects Vijay has performed at an array of prestigious venues and festivals around the world, including The North Sea Jazz Festival, Glastonbury, Montreux Jazz Festival, Ronnie Scott’s, Budapest Jazz Club and Havana Jazz Club. As an educator, Vij runs workshops for The Barbican Centre, Spitalfields Music, London Music Masters, NYJO, Cambridge Jazz Festival, Band in a Day and Share-Music Southwest amongst others.