NYJOTL Awardee David Ijishakin © Tane Stappard and Theo Geraghaty

Trinity Laban and National Youth Jazz Orchestra announce first winner of new joint scholarship award

London-based music education organisations Trinity Laban and the National Youth Jazz Orchestra (NYJO) have combined to launch a new NYJO-Trinity Laban scholarship to support a talented young student on the Trinity Laban Conservatoire’s jazz degree programme.  

The first to benefit from this is trombone-keyboard-guitar-playing singer-songwriter David Ijishakin, aka Akin Soul.

The award is funded by NYJO, which has developed a fruitful collaborative relationship with the conservatoire to ensure diversity, inclusivity and accessibility within jazz education. The two organisations have been developing a range of community projects in the Greenwich, Lewisham and Woolwich areas of London, further enhancing Trinity Laban’s growing reputation as a nurturer of new jazz talent.

‘I have long admired Trinity Laban’s approach to jazz education, and the conservatoire’s head of jazz, Hans Koller, has added a unique dimension to it with his thoughtful approach.’ said NYJO Executive Chair, Nigel Tully. ‘So I was absolutely delighted when the idea of this scholarship emerged in conversation.’

‘We are proud to be working with NJYO to further our commitment to widening access for talented and dedicated jazz stars of the future like David Ijishakin,’ said Trinity Laban’s Principal, Anthony Bowne.

‘In recent years, Trinity Laban has become a hothouse for the London jazz scene, with graduates such as Moses Boyd, Laura Jurd and Nubya Garcia enjoying critical success through their artistic excellence and originality.’

Tully agreed, ‘We share similar attitudes and values around this wonderful artform, and I am sure this is only the start of a broader partnership’ he said. ‘I am particularly pleased that we are able to help such a deserving young local resident.’

Ijishakin’s influences range from Ella Fitzgerald to Donny Hathaway, but his 12-piece band Akin Soul and the Soul Tribe was inspired by the big bands of Dizzy Gillespie and Count Basie. He’s already played the BBC Music Day at Pop Brixton and the All Points East Festival and earned plaudits for his innovative debut single, I Want You. His follow-up, Burning Fire was released in November, but he sees the scholarship as an honour and opportunity.

‘I feel very privileged to receive the NYJO-Trinity Laban Award,’ he said. ‘I’m excited for what is to come within these next few years of growth as a musician and an individual. I’m very appreciative of the support I’m receiving from both NYJO and Trinity Laban on this journey.’

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