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Carnegie Hall’s National Youth Jazz Orchestra, Announces Debut Tour to South Africa

July 26 - July 28

NYO Jazz Lead header-01

This July and August, Carnegie Hall’s critically acclaimed national youth jazz orchestra, NYO Jazz, will embark on its first-ever tour to South Africa, marking its seventh season of extraordinary music-making. This remarkable ensemble, created by Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute in 2018, annually brings together some of the most outstanding teen jazz musicians from across the United States to train, perform, and tour with some of the world’s greatest artists while also serving as music ambassadors, sharing America’s greatest art form with audiences around the globe.

NYO Jazz will perform at Carnegie Hall in New York on 20 July before beginning their historic visit to South Africa. The tour includes debut performances at The Market Theatre, Johannesburg (26, 27 & 28 July); The Playhouse, Durban (1 August); and Artscape, Cape Town (2 & 3 August), as well as music-making with local South African musicians. This tour marks the first time that one of Carnegie Hall’s three acclaimed national youth ensembles will perform on the African continent. It follows successful international tours by NYO Jazz to some of the most prestigious concert halls and music festivals across Europe, Asia, and the United States. The COVID-19 pandemic postponed NYO Jazz’s scheduled tour to South Africa in 2020.

Carnegie Hall Performance and Local Collaborations

Additionally, celebrated Artistic Director and bandleader/trumpeter Sean Jones leads NYO Jazz. Of course, they will be joined by vocalist Alicia Olatuja, who has been praised by The New York Times as “a singer with a strong and luscious tone,” as a special guest for their annual Carnegie Hall concert and on tour. As part of its South African tour, the band will also be joined by local guest soloists to be announced in June.

Before their South African tour, the musicians will first arrive in New York in early July to commence an intensive 10-day training residency. During this period, they will collaborate with world-class jazz masters on the campus of Purchase College, State University of New York, situated just north of New York City. Following the residency, NYO Jazz will showcase their talents at the annual concert at Carnegie Hall on 20 July. The Hall will livestream the concert on its website and subsequently make it available on its on-demand streaming platform Carnegie Hall+.

NYO Jazz’s 2024 South African tour offers America’s finest young musicians the opportunity to experience the richness of the country’s culture and history while sharing their remarkable artistry with audiences throughout the country. Complementing their performances, the players’ schedule will also include exciting opportunities for cultural exchange and peer-to-peer activities with local young people, an element that has become a hallmark of international tours by all three of Carnegie Hall’s national youth ensembles.

American Talent & South African Spirit

We are thrilled to have NYO Jazz make its debut in South Africa this year—the first visit to Africa by any of our national youth ensembles. Given South Africa’s extraordinarily rich music traditions, which include a deep passion for jazz, we know this tour will be a tremendous opportunity for musical and cultural discovery for these brilliant young players. We are proud to showcase their incredible depth of talent and the high level of musicianship found across the United States as we connect the members of NYO Jazz with young musicians and music lovers in South Africa.

Clive Gillinson, Executive and Artistic Director of Carnegie Hall

For NYO Jazz’s 2024 concerts, Carnegie Hall has commissioned a new work by South African composer Sibusiso Mash Mashiloane. The ensemble’s diverse program will also include big band classics by Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, and Mary Lou Williams; a new big band arrangement from Terri Lyne Carrington’s project “New Standards: 101 Lead Sheets by Women Composers”, Lakecia Benjamin’s “Trane,” arranged by Jhoely Garay; and other contemporary pieces, showcasing jazz as a living and limitless art form.

South Africa is indeed a motherland where jazz resonates deeply within our souls, and we are thrilled to host the gifted NYO Jazz musicians.  My composition for NYO Jazz is an invitation to a musical dialogue celebrating South African ways of musicking. We will weave together the joyful spirit of the legendary Hugh Masekela with many of our other diverse musical influences, creating a powerful and unforgettable sound of our home: South Africa.

Sibusiso Mash Mashiloane.

NYO Jazz Tour dates

The Market Theatre, Johannesburg

  • Friday, 26 July at 19h00.
  • Saturday, 27 July at 15h00 & 19h00.
  • Sunday, 28 July at 15h00.

Bookings via Webtickets

For reduced-price block bookings (of 10 or more) and school groups, contact Anthony Ezeoke, (Audience Development), at or 083 246 4950 and Mamello Khomongoe or 081 572 9612.

The Playhouse, Durban

Thursday, 1 August at 19h00.

Bookings via Webtickets.
For reduced-price block bookings (of 5 or more) and school groups, contact Gugu at

Artscape, Cape Town

Friday, 2 August at 19h00.
Saturday, 3 August at 15h00 & 19h00.


July 26
July 28
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National Youth Jazz Orchestra
021 421 7695
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