The big band sound comes to DMU with the National Youth Jazz Orchestra


The UK's finest emerging jazz musicians are coming to De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) to spread their love of the big-band sound.

The world-famous National Youth Jazz Orchestra (NYJO) will visit the university for the first time to perform two concerts bursting with rhythm.

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The ensemble of under 26-year-olds will put on an interactive concert for more than 700 children from primary schools across Leicester – the first concert of its kind hosted by DMU Music.

The 23 young musicians will then take to the stage again for a glittering showcase for campus and city audiences. This will include unique ‘side-by-side’ performances with the DMU Jazz Band and the Leicestershire Music Hub Big Band.

NYJO’s Artistic and Music Director Mark Armstrong said: “We are looking forward to coming to Leicester on 19 April and are delighted with the enthusiasm our afternoon schools concert has received.

“It is such a great opportunity for young people to experience and be inspired by jazz, and is therefore wonderful that we are able to offer a live stream of the event, opening it up to those unable to be there in person. We are so grateful to the staff and students at DMU for making this possible.

 “For the evening gig, NYJO will be performing our new Female Jazz Icons programme….it is a celebration of some of the best jazz musicians and composers in history, from the 1930s to the present day, all of whom just happen to be female, and we can’t wait to play it for the wonderful audience in Leicester.”

National Youth Jazz Orchestra 1 WEB

Both concerts will be held at The Venue@DMU on Thursday, 19 April and will feature DMU students as volunteers in several behind-the-scenes roles.

NYJO will perform for invited primary school children from 1pm to 2pm. The ‘Key Stage 2 Concert’ aims to introduce the world of jazz to children aged 7 to 11.  It is not unusual for NYJO to perform in schools, but this is thought to be the first time so many children from different schools have been brought together for such an interactive concert. Participating schools will also receive NYJO digital resource packs.

NYJO will then perform a full evening concert, which is open to all, at 7.30pm. The programme will celebrate women in jazz, from the songs of Ella Fitzgerald and the 1930s trumpet stylings of Valaida Snow, to contemporary classics by band leader Maria Schneider and bassist Esperanza Spalding.

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Students from DMU’s Demon Media will be filming the afternoon concert and it will be livestreamed on the DMU music website. Schools not involved will be encouraged to watch it from their classrooms.

Chris Heighton, DMU’s Head of Music, added: “The NYJO project as part of the DMU International Jazz Series marks our first ever Schools Concert and the livestream will enable schools across the city, county, nationally and even internationally to experience this unique performance and explore the world of jazz music.

“One of our key themes across all of our programming this year has focussed on celebrating Women in Music and the NYJO evening programme will very much reflect this, whilst also providing an incredible experience for our students playing in the DMU Jazz Band who will be performing with NYJO alongside the Leicestershire Music Hub Big Band.”


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The National Youth Jazz Orchestra was founded in 1965 to promote jazz as an art form and encourage the talents of young musicians. They perform about 40 concerts a year in major concert halls and theatres nationally and internationally, as well as on radio and television. They also have an extensive discography of over 40 recordings.

Musicians are selected by audition and NYJO has helped to launch the careers of many renowned musicians, including Guy Barker and Amy Winehouse.

To purchase tickets for the NYJO public concert at DMU, visit the Leicester Jazz House website. Tickets are also available on the door on the night, if paid in cash. Standard tickets cost £12, but DMU students and staff can attend for a discounted rate of £5.

Posted on Thursday 12th April 2018

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