About The Festival
Standard Bank National Youth Jazz Festival, Grahamstown: a barometer of South
The Standard Bank National Youth Jazz Festival has become one of the most
significant jazz development programmes in the country, annually bringing
together over 300 students and 40 teachers from diverse backgrounds all over
South Africa, with nearly 60 professional jazz musicians and educators. The
festival lasts nearly a week, incorporating innovative jazz performance,
rehearsals, workshops, lectures, networking and an opportunity for South
Africa’s future jazz stars to interact personally and musically with their peers
and the country’s top performers.
The SBNYJF has hosted most of South Africa’s leading jazz musicians over the
past 16 years, as well as musicians and teachers from Argentina, Australia,
Austria, Britain, Canada, Costa Rica, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Israel,
Mexico, Mozambique, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Serbia, Sweden,
Switzerland, the US and Zimbabwe.
The top jazz students in South Africa audition for places in the Standard Bank
National Schools Big Band and the National Youth Jazz Band (NYJB) and these
national bands are conducted by some of South Africa’s leading jazz educators
and performers. The NYJB performs regularly at major festivals around South
Africa - Grahamstown, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban - and has performed in New
York, Sweden and the North Sea Jazz Festival, The Netherlands.
The philosophy of the SBNYJF is to promote the development of jazz in South
African by providing vibrant, excellent educational opportunities for young
players; by encouraging artistic integrity and creativity on the world-class
Main Jazz Stage; by acknowledging our country’s jazz heritage; by creating a
forum for South African musicians to network with peers from around the country
and the world; and by providing audiences with unique, quality jazz.