Sydney Youth Jazz Orchestra
SYJO is an acclaimed jazz big band, ranking among Australia’s finest. It is the flagship ensemble of the Sydney Youth Jazz Orchestra program, a not for profit music training association dedicated to helping young musicians achieve the highest possible standards of performance. SYJO plays a wide repertoire, covering the swing and mainstream traditions of the 1920s to today, as well as new works of contemporary Australian and international repertoire. The band often features new compositions by members of the ensemble.
The Sydney Youth Jazz Orchestra program includes SYJO, the flagship ensemble, SYJO2 for high school musicians, and SYJO3 for primary and junior high school aged musicians.
SYJO offers young musicians with potential the chance to develop through working with the best, most successful jazz educators in Australia.
The Sydney Youth Jazz Orchestra, SYJO, is a non-profit association established for the encouragement of music. Specifically, through providing a framework of outstanding jazz ensembles for students and young musicians to rehearse and perform with.
Following in the tradition of other youth jazz orchestras around the world, SYJO is set to become Australia’s foremost youth jazz orchestra. In the UK the National Youth Jazz Orchestra (NYJO), the Midlands Youth Jazz Orchestra and the Wigan Youth Jazz Orchestra for many years have all outstanding examples of the level of performance an opportunity such as this can offer. Locally the Sydney Schools Jazz Orchestra for public secondary school students and Judy Bailey’s Jazz Connection are two other youth jazz orchestras performing at a very high level. SYJO works in tandem and in cooperation with these, and the many other fine youth jazz orchestras of Sydney and Australia.
Membership of the ensembles is by audition and is open to musicians aged 30 years and under. There are three SYJO ensembles, grouped roughly by age but all auditioned on the basis of playing ability.
SYJO’s non-profit status allows it to fundraise and seek support through grants and donations in order to provide programs for its members. These include regional touring grants, artist in residence programs, support for young composers and scholarship programs for assisting young musicians to access excellent jazz education opportunities and to later establish viable careers as professional performers as alumni of the SYJO program.
An exciting initiative of SYJO is the Australian Youth Jazz Orchestra AYJO, an occasional ensemble bringing together the finest young jazz musicians in the country for collegiate rehearsals, performances and touring.
The SYJO conductor and musical director is Saul Richardson, B.Ed (hons), MACE . Saul is well known internationally as one of Australia’s most successful jazz educators. He is an experienced big band conductor, electric guitarist, adjudicator, clinician and is a lecturer in the Jazz Department at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.
Karen Richards is the SYJO creative director. Karen is well known as a producer of major events, such as the opening and closing ceremonies of the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games. She is also an experienced television producer.
All SYJO rehearsals take place at Jazz Workshop Australia, 58 Atchison St, St Leonards 2065 in the upstairs big band rehearsal space on the first floor.
Enquiries about SYJO and AYJO
Email us at info@SYJO.org or use the contact form on this website.