ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

NYJO LDN ACADEMY

Mark studied at Oxford University and the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, London. Re-appointed as the Artistic and Music Director for NYJO in 2012, Mark had taken the rehearsals and written for the band for many years – before that Mark was a member of the NYJO’s trumpet section.

As a composer and arranger he has written extensively for big band and is a former winner of the BBC Big Band Competition arranging prize. Additionally, he composes and arranges for a variety of forces from small jazz ensemble to full orchestra and many of his works have been recorded by NYJO.

As a performer, he was nominated in the best trumpet category of the 2007 Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Awards and he performs regularly with the Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Orchestra and in small groups. Mark is Jazz Professor at the Royal College of Music in London and works as a moderator, trainer and examiner for the ABRSM.


NYJO LDN Advanced MD

NYJO LDN ACADEMY

Born and raised in Islington, North London. Winston started playing drums, aged 14 and was playing in professional environments before he had reached his 20th birthday.

Early musical study began at the Centre for Young Musicians (South London). A division of the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, CYM is focused on providing training in an inclusive, vibrant and stimulating environment. As a natural progression, Winston found himself at Guildhall at aged 20 to continue his musical education.

Winston has played, toured, and recorded with many artists from all over the world, including: Courtney Pine, Carleen Anderson, Bheki Mseleku, Carmen Lundy, Benny Golson, Stanley Turrentine, Archie Shepp, Freddie Hubbard, Joe Lovano, Monty Alexander, Cleveland Watkiss, Mica Paris, Julian Joseph, Tim Garland, Gwilym Simcock, Jason Rebello, Ronnie Scott, Pete King and NYJO’s current Vice-Chair, Orphy Robinson.

Winner of the 2018 British Jazz Awards, Winston also teaches drums and vocals at the Guildhall School of Music and Birmingham University.

I’m very much looking forward to working with small groups of young musicians, and helping them to develop individual confidence, a rich musical vocabulary, technical skills – and most importantly, a coherent group sound, with the emphasis on listening to each other… Teamwork. Empathy. Listening.


NYJO LDN Intermediate MD

NYJO LDN ACADEMY

Introducing Berklee educated 25-year-old British drummer Jas Kayser. Jas is a Paiste Cymbals and Natal Drums artist, previously based in Boston, Jas is currently based between London and Panama City. Mentored by Terri-Lyne Carrington and Ralph Peterson, she’s also a composer focused on exploring the bridge between afro-beat, Panamanian rhythms and jazz. Jas has featured in bands with leading British lights Nubya Garcia, Ashley Henry and Jorja Smith as well as American drummer Ralph Peterson’s Big Band and had a starring role on drums alongside Lenny Kravitz in the official video for his song “Low”.

Jas has a long-running relationship with NYJO going back close to a decade, most notably in her role as a NYJO Ambassador running workshops all over the UK. Jas’s most recent commercial release is her new Debut EP “Unforced Rhythm of Grace”, available now on all platforms. It has been supported by Jamie Cullum, BBC 3, Jazz FM and Jazzwise.

It’s going to be really inspiring to work with the young musicians. I’m looking forward to sharing my experiences and lessons in Panama and the States and to hear the music we create and develop together.


NYJO LDN Creative Ensemble MD

[In Partnership with the Royal London Borough of Greenwich]

NYJO LDN ACADEMY

Widely recognised as a seminal figure in jazz, Wallen is an acclaimed writer and producer whose original scores have been commissioned by the Science Museum, PRS, BBC, Jerwood Foundation, Southbank Centre, National Theatre, Arts Council, FIFA and Sage Gateshead. He has also composed soundscapes for Universal Pictures, Warner Bros and the HBO series Game of Thrones.

Byron has received the BBC Jazz Innovation Award (2003) and has been nominated several times for the MOBO Awards. In 2017, he received the coveted  Paul Hamlyn Award. In 2020 his band Four Corners was nominated for the best band category at the Parliamentary Jazz Awards. Wallen’s current PRS commission “Anthem for Woolwich” forges new links between schools, venues, musicians and residents to strengthen the resilience and promote the cohesion of the community.

I am looking forward to working with NYJO and Greenwich music hub creating a vibrant musical band nurturing the talents of the future.” 


Academy Big Band MD

NYJO LDN ACADEMY

From 1997 until 1999 he was part of the Thelonious Monk Institute Jazz Program at the New England Conservatory in Boston. In 1999, he graduated with a Masters Degree in Jazz Studies. During his Boston years, Seb performed with Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, John Scofield, Clark Terry, Barry Harris, Dave Holland, Gene Harris and had lessons with drum legend Charlie Persip.

in 2000, he moved to London where he joined the Guy Barker Quintet/Septet and the Tommy Smith Quartet. In 2001, he joined Jamie Cullum’s band, which resulted in several world tours, 3 albums and a live film, over an 8 year stint. Seb also teaches at BIMM London and Leeds College of Music and continues to play with Ray Gelato’s Giants and Jacqui Dankworth. His most recent performances also include playing alongside Michel Legrand, Kurt Elling, Curtis Stigers and Diane Schuur and many more.

I am really honoured to continue leading the NYJO Academy Big Band. We will explore the vast subject of great big band music written over the last 100 years and I am sure that our future projects will be both inspiring and great fun.”


Academy Vocal Coach

NYJO LDN ACADEMY

Helena Debono is a professional Jazz/Soul Singer based in South West London. Since graduating from Leeds College of Music with a 1st class Hons Degree in Music (Jazz Vocals), Helena has been an active member of the London Jazz scene. Helena was the vocalist for the National Youth Jazz Orchestra for 2 years and was deputising as NYJO’s Vocal Coach before making the role permanent.

Helena gigs regularly around the UK and most recently opened NYJO Presents’ a new livestream series in collaboration with Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club to celebrate emerging talent from the UK jazz scene. Helena began to write for her new Album whilst still with NYJO, with a musical style influenced by her love of the great jazz divas, such as Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan as well as more contemporary acts like Lianne La Havas and NYJO Alumna, Amy Winehouse. Helena’s debut album will be released later in the year.


It’s amazing to have such a great opportunity so soon after a wonderful 2 years with the orchestra. I can’t wait to get working with the young singers and help them on their journey to becoming professional musicians.


NYJO Academy LDN offers weekly London-based access to large ensemble rehearsals, jazz vocal training, and improvisation & aural training for young musicians of mixed levels and abilities every Saturday, three terms a year.