The UK’s National Youth Jazz Orchestra (NYJO) has announced trumpeter Gemma Buckenham will be the first Music Director of their new Jazz Ensemble.
Buckenham takes over from Acting MD Tom Stone, and will begin her role in July, 2013 based at the London Centre for Contemporary Music in Southwark, London.
The NYJO Jazz Ensemble is part of the newly formed NYJO Academy, which is now the official brand for all of the NYJO’s educational workshops for young musicians in the United Kingdom. The NYJO Jazz Ensemble is intended for students up to the age of 16, with a focus on improving performance skills, familiarity with the concepts of Jazz, and acting as an introduction to big band repertoire.
As students progress past the Jazz Ensemble, they may be invited to join the NYJO Academy Big Band, which focuses on students wishing to pursue a career in Jazz performance, or to audition for the award-winning performance band at the NYJO.
This appointment could not seem more fitting, as Buckenham was inspired to start learning the trumpet after seeing the NYJO perform as a child. She went on to have a successful career performing with and arranging pieces for the likes of Cyndi Lauper, Gloria Estefan, and Roy Wood. She later became a music educator, and has come full circle to where her musical journey began at the NYJO.
Watch the NYJO perform “Feelin’ Good” below: