Friday, 15 January 2010

NYJO approaching stop time?

It is perhaps unsurprising that arts funding in the UK is approaching a precipice, especially if Jeremy Hunt has anything to do with it. Even so, it is distressing to hear that the National Youth Jazz Orchestra is on the ropes. The coverage of the story in the Times doesn’t inspire much confidence either. According to them, NYJO’s primary claim to fame is that Amy Winehouse used to sing with them. I can’t help wondering how much they make out of their regular, and always successful, Ronnie Scott’s residencies. But don’t worry, salvation is at hand, the campaign to raise the funds needed has the support of the all-party parliamentary jazz appreciation group. That’s a relief.

1 comment:

  1. I'd like to assure readers that NYJO is certainly not on the way out, whatever the colour of the next government. We are in the process of transforming both the operations and the artistic policy of the orchestra: not just in the face of some justifiable criticism by ACE but thanks to advice from prominent jazz musicians and educators. Our aim is to retain the great traditions and heritage of the band and add exciting and contemporary new work to our repertoire.

    Rest assured that we do not consider having Amy Winehouse singing with us to be the only highlight from our past - over twenty albums and countless national and international performances attest to a much wider remit. Yes our recent Ronnie Scott's appearance was a sell-out, and included a new suite by Paul Hart as well as a set led by Stan Sulzmann featuring his compositions. However, as the joke goes ("how do you make £100,000 with a big band? Start with £200,000.") this is an expensive business. We are confident that we will raise the £105,000 we need for the next three years, but any help would be gratefully received!

    Mark Armstrong, assistant Musical Director, NYJO