Next Generation Jazz Orchestra

Being a part of NGJO was pretty much a life changer for me…The individual band members were by far the best musicians I have ever had the honor of playing within my generation [and] the chance to see and experience another country like Japan is something that I will never forget…Nothing I have done so far in my journey in this music has impacted me more than my time with Next Gen. –Chris Fishman, pianist, 2014 NGJO

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. This year the orchestra, under the direction of Education Director Paul Contos, will meet September 15-20, 2015 for an extended residency at the Monterey Jazz Festival that culminates in a main stage performance with Artist-In-Residence Wynton Marsalis.

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.

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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