THE NATIONAL YOUTH JAZZ FESTIVAL, MAKHANDA

The National Youth Jazz Festival, Makhanda (NYJF) has become one of the most significant jazz development programmes in the country with its dual focus on jazz education and jazz art music. The festival brings together 350 of the top young jazz musicians, 40 jazz educators and 80 jazz performers from South Africa and around the world and audiences, participants and performers alike are provided with a unique and memorable experience.

The NYJF was established in 1992 and in 2004 became linked to the National Jazz Festival, Makhanda which has been running since 1989. NYJF runs in conjunction with the annual National Arts Festival (NAF), which over the course of 10 days transforms the quaint university town, Makhanda, into a vibrant, eclectic showcase of nationwide cultural talent. Since its inception, the NYJF has hosted most of South Africa’s leading jazz musicians, as well as musicians and teachers from across 42 countries and 6 continents.

The NYJF is hosted at the Diocesan School for Girls, with the school campus accommodating all jazz performances, workshops and youth accommodation. The festival uses its relatively small size to its advantage and students are given the unique opportunity to interact with professional jazz musicians on a more personal level while experiencing firsthand the South African jazz industry. Each student attendee is given the chance to perform, whether it be in the ensembles every student is allocated to, in a performance given by their own education institution or in the national bands which are selected at the NYJF.

The top jazz students in South Africa audition for places in the National Schools’ Jazz Band (ages 14-18) and the National Youth Jazz Band (ages 26 and under) – which are conducted by some of South Africa’s leading jazz educators and performers. Applicants go through several rounds of additions before final auditions are held at the NYJF. The National Youth Jazz Band (NYJB) performs not only on the Main Stage at the festival, but also the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz Festival in Johannesburg. It has in addition performed around South Africa as well as in New York, Sweden and at the North Sea Jazz Festival, the Netherlands.

The National Youth Jazz Festival’s philosophy is ultimately to promote the development of South African jazz by providing excellent educational opportunities for young players; encouraging artistic integrity and creativity in a supportive and educational space; helping students to form connections with other South African youth from across the country; and providing audiences with unique, quality jazz.

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The National Jazz Festival, Makhanda 2024 will run from 24-29 June

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2023 festival Highlights

Contacts

ALAN WEBSTER

FESTIVAL DIRECTOR

DONNE ROEBERT

FESTIVAL MANAGER

KYLE DU PREEZ

NYJF MANAGER