Next Generation Jazz Orchestra

I was a member of the All-Star Band in 1999 and 2000, and I learned the true definition of compassion during my trips to Japan with the group. It was the first time in my life I saw a community of people gaining pleasure from giving. Everyone says ‘music is a universal language,’ but I really know this to be true. I met some of my closest friends during those trips to Japan. The importance of a program like this goes far beyond music and lands on humanity itself.—Ambrose Akinmusire

About the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra (NGJO)

Each year the Monterey Jazz Festival brings together 21 of the brightest high school jazz musicians from across the country to form an all-star big band.

The Next Generation Jazz Orchestra will be touring Japan in summer of 2016. Tentative dates are July 24-August 8. The Next Generation Jazz Orchestra will also appear at the Monterey Jazz Festival on September 18 with a main stage performance with the 2016 Artist-In-Residence.

Next Generation Jazz Orchestra (NGJO) members:

  • Play, listen and learn with peers who challenge them
  • Workshop, rehearse and perform with name Festival artists
  • Develop a set of cutting-edge repertoire
  • Experience the natural beauty of Monterey in sightseeing outings
  • Perform throughout Monterey County
  • Get a backstage pass to hear and meet the best jazz musicians in the world at the Monterey Jazz Festival.

Frequently Asked Questions

Application Criteria


Congratulations to our 2015 members!

Read the 2015 NGJO biographies here.

2015 Next Generation Jazz Orchestra
Director: Mr. Paul Contos

Eric Nakanishi, alto / Northgate High School, Pleasant Hill, CA
Immanuel Wilkins, alto** / Upper Darby High School, Drexel Hill, PA
Tim Murphy, tenor / Montclair High School, Montclair, NJ
Morgan Guerin, tenor / Westlake High School, Atlanta, GA
Kaelen Ghandhi, baritone / Carlmont High School, Belmont, CA

Andrew Munoz / Esperanza High School, Yorba Linda, CA
Abdulrahman Amer / LaGuardia High School, New York, NY
Nicholas Lee** / Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, Los Angeles, CA
Jasim Perales / Oakland School for the Arts, Oakland, CA
Ethan Noel Santos (bass) Buchanan High School, Fresno, CA

Jonah Moss (lead) / Northgate High School, Walnut Creek, CA
Carlos Ramos (asst. lead) / Downey High School, Downey, CA
Anthony Hervey** / Dillard Center for the Arts, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Evan Abounassar / Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, Los Angeles, CA
Jeremy Alvarez / Upland High School, Upland, CA

Chris Fishman, piano** / Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, Los Angeles, CA
Kanoa Mendenhall, bass / SFJAZZ High School All-Stars Orchestra, San Francisco, CA
Joseph Bell, guitar** / Princeton High School, Princeton, NJ
Timothy Angulo, drums / Berkeley High School, Berkeley, CA
Jared Silverstein, drums / Hillsborough High School, Hillsborough, NJ
Claire Dickson, vocals / Homeschool, Medford, MA

** 2-year NGJO member

Here’s what our 2014 band members had to say:

I don't plan to pursue a career in music, but being with these amazing musicians has inspired me to keep playing and improving. Being connected in this web of super talented musicians is an honor and has changed my life for the better. –Andy Arditi, tenor saxophone

Thank you so much for a wonderful experience in the NGJO. The tour was the best experience I’ve had, and I had a blast in Monterey! At school, Chris, Max and I still talk about stories from Japan! I hope to be in the band again next year! –Nick Lee, trombone

Next Gen has had a huge impact on my life. The opportunities and networking it has given me has been unbelievable. –Henry Solomon, baritone saxophone

My host family was amazing and so welcoming to me. And the cultural exchanges when we gave master classes were great. Really special. –Anonymous student

The karaoke! The food! The hot springs! –Michael Gutierrez, trumpet

To learn more about the Next Generation Orchestra, its history or to apply, please use the links on the left.

In 2010, the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra was profiled on Better TV. Have a look!

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