Nigel chairs the Board of Trustees and is also Chief Executive of NYJO. His band ‘The Dark Blues’, which he started while studying Physics at Oxford, has performed over 5,000 gigs nationally and internationally.

Nigel had a long business career with IBM and is a PastMaster of the Worshipful Company of Musicians and Chair of its Jazz Committee. Nigel became Executive Chair of NYJO in 2009 and led its subsequent transformation with Vice-Chair Jack Fallow, having been a Trustee since 2000.

Nigel lives on a farm in Hertfordshire with his wife Professor Deborah Cunningham, a consultant radiologist at Imperial Health Care Trust. She is a NYJO chair sponsor and is a passionate lover of jazz.


One of a select few musicians from the UK to have been signed to the legendary Blue Note records Label, Orphy is an acclaimed soloist working across a variety of musical forms – including jazz, free jazz, free improvisation, Orphy has recorded on over 100 albums.

Known primarily as a vibraphonist and marimba player he has also played saxophone, trumpet, drums, piano & Steel Pans. Robinson has toured for a decade with the acclaimed Classical musician Nigel Kennedy, for whom he has also worked as a Producer.

Orphy currently sits on the Board of Directors for the Ivors Academy formerly known as ‘Basca’. He is the Chair of the Ivor’s Jazz committee, is an active Ivor Novello Awards committee member and a very experienced educator in his own right.


Award winning jazz pianist and composer, Nikki Iles was a founder member of the innovative Creative Jazz Orchestra – working with Mike Gibbs, Vince Mendoza and Kenny Wheeler. She has had a busy freelance career working with Julian Arguelles, Claire Martin and Scott Hamilton amongst others and also recording with Kenny Wheeler, Stan Sulzmann, Norma Winstone, Dave Holland, Tina May and Rufus Reid. With over 30 CDs recorded over 3 decades of her career, she has been described as the “Heroine of British Jazz”.

Although well known as a pianist, composition remains a major part of her musical life with many commissions including The London Sinfonietta,The International Society of Jazz Composers and Arrangers, the Umo Jazz Orchestra. Helsinki and NYJO (featured at the Proms).

With a parallel career as a much loved and respected teacher, Nikki holds posts at Middlesex University, the Royal Academy of Music and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama as well as giving masterclasses around the world. She has been a driving force behind the Jazz syllabus at the ABRSM and continues to publish with Oxford University Press.

After many years of close collaboration, Nikki joined the NYJO board in April 2021.


Jack’s musical ambitions as a drummer faded under the pressure of eight-hour nightclub sweats in Germany. Back home, he spent a short time being a music promoter but decided to focus on a ‘normal’ business career.

Jack held director-level posts in HR, Customer Service, Operations and Strategy in a major UK utility. From there, he led a buyout to create an engineering business owned by the 400 workers. Following a period as a management consultant, and a business school professorship, he is a director of Globis Mediation and a trustee of the Engines Orchestra and The Renaissance Forum.

Over the years, Jack has been a governor of a primary school, an institute of higher education, a business school, a university research consultancy, a university and a global organisation design society. Jack’s other pro bono interests are focussed on mentoring young leaders; for many years in the Balkans and more recently Costa Rica.


Alex Spofforth was a musician first, with an Arts degree from Durham University, including Music (Ethnomusicology & Jazz) so was able to do his finals writing about Miles and modes. A pianist, having worked on local radio sessions and running bands in the North East, he went off to get a better paid job and became a qualified Chartered Accountant.

His music business clients have included Whitney Houston, The Hanover Band orchestra, session players and composers, and the Band of the Coldstream Guards. He toured with Victoria Hart’s band and appeared on her albums.

He runs a accountancy practice of his own in Sussex which allows him to work with a number of charities whilst also keeping his hand in with tax returns and business advice, and leaving enough time to run a rehearsal band for older musicians.


Cindy Sughrue has worked at senior level within the cultural sector in the UK since 1990, with extensive knowledge of the performing arts, including an early career as a dancer. She was born in Boston, USA, and received a first class honours degree from Boston University before coming to the UK in 1985 as a Marshall Scholar to undertake her PhD in Dance.

In October 2015 she became Director of the Charles Dickens Museum in London. Prior to that she was Chief Executive & Executive Producer at Scottish Ballet for over 10 years. Previous posts include Chief Executive/Executive Producer of Scottish Ballet, Director of the Collective Gallery, General Manager of Dance Base (Scotland’s National Centre for Dance), and Head of Dance at the Scottish Arts Council.

Dr. Sughrue has served on the Boards of the audience development agency Culture Republic, Dance Base, and Scottish Ballet amongst others, and is a Governor of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and a Trustee of the Dame Margot Fonteyn Scholarship Fund.


Linda’s legal career was preceded by 10 years in industry, in Business Marketing for a leading American Toy Company, a Computer giant and a German car manufacturer. Her bi-lingual skills – inherited from her E

astern/Central European parents – provided the springboard for exhibition stints abroad and across the UK within the Marketing sector. Her other business interests are generally more of a creative nature.

She joined the NYJO Board in 2006 having been introduced to jazz by her trumpet playing daughter, who was a regular player with the then NYJO2. Amongst other, more formal, responsibilities Linda deals with the LCCM weekly rehearsal attendance records, new registrations and encouragement of NYJO Academy musicians.


Janet’s professional experience is in human resources management and organisational development, working across a range of public and private sector organisations.  She is currently HR Director at the Palace of Westminster Restoration & Renewal Delivery Authority.  Janet has two other non-executive roles:  one as the Senior Independent Director on the Board of British Fencing (the governing body for the Olympic sport of fencing) and the other on the board of The Hillingdon Hospital Foundation Trust.


Ted was a NYJO band member on alto from 1968-1971. He was on the NYJO board as a trustee since 1989. Ted’s professional career is in graphic design animation – after leaving Hornsey College of Art (now Middlesex University) he formed Klactoveesedstene Animations Ltd with Oscar Grillo in 1981 producing animated commercials, some with soundtracks by NYJO alumni Paul Hart, Dick Walter and Mike Page.

Ted also assists at the LCCM weekly rehearsals and has assembled a comprehensive video archive of various NYJO aggregations through the ages. Not only is this a unique record of the band’s development over the years – it is also a precious record of the changes in band members’ hairstyles through the ages.

While Ted has left the NYJO board in April 2021, he remains a Trustee Emeritus.


Gordon was the Honorary Treasurer of NYJO. A Chartered Accountant in public practice for forty years, Gordon took semi retirement in 2007 until NYJO entered his life at the end of 2008.

A life-long jazz fan, Gordon loved his involvement with NYJO which was born out of his advising the late Sir John Dankworth and Dame Cleo Laine for many years.

Sadly, Gordon died on 3 December 2020.