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The New Orleans Jazz Orchestra creates Jazz to enhance life, transform place, and elevate spirit. As a performing arts organization, our goal is to strengthen the business of Jazz through performances, tours, recordings, education and media platforms. NOJO is the first and only performing arts institution committed solely to the development of an Industry for Jazz in the city that created it.
Artistic Director Irvin Mayfield founded NOJO in 2002 as a powerful vehicle for celebrating and advancing the cultural and historical legacy of New Orleans Jazz. The concept came to Mayfield after he created the Institute of Jazz Culture at Dillard University as the youngest member of the faculty. As he looked around the City for a partner in the Jazz Industry, he found that there was no institution committed solely to the business of Jazz or performing it 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in the city that created it.
This led Mayfield to create the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, designed to celebrate and fortify the American Jazz portfolio while providing infrastructure for developing the New Orleans Jazz Industry. Mayfield assembled a 16-piece band and enlisted NOJO President & CEO Ronald Markham. NOJO had its first performance in early 2003 at Tipitina’s.