Nerve Centre's Music Hothouse Talent to Shine at Jazz Festival

Nerve Centre's Music Hothouse Talent to Shine at Jazz Festival

The City of Derry Jazz and Big Band Festival is well known for showcasing top new talent, and this year some of Derry~Londonderry’s brightest young musicians will be putting their own spin on some classic jazz tunes, as part of the Music Hothouse programme at the Nerve Centre.

Based on the success of last year’s workshops, the 30 places for the intense music sessions were snapped up immediately, with many young people returning to further hone their skills based on their experiences during 2013.

The workshops will be led by top music professionals – including acclaimed Jazz pianist Neil Cowley – who mentor and tutor the young people, giving them a real insight into the workings of the industry. Focusing on both technical skill and performance, the sessions will take place over the week April 21 – 25, culminating in a special live al fresco Jazz Festival performance on May 3. This performance will see six newly formed groups appear at the outdoor stage in the Craft Village. Music Course Co-ordinator with the Nerve Centre, Martin Coyle, explained.

‘We’re delighted to be hosting the workshops again, they were such a success last year, and about half the places have been filled by young musicians who previously took part and really learned a lot from the experience,’ he said. ‘The 30 young people will be separated into six groups who will work together with their mentors for five days taking them through the whole process of being in a professional band. So they’ll have the opportunity to try their hand at song writing and avail of instrument and vocal tuition. The musicians will also be introduced to music technology, get to work in a real recording studio, learn how to use a mixing desk and take part in live stage sessions, as well as writing their own songs.’

The young talents are all aged between 11-18, and for many this will be their first experience of working with traditional jazz music. But with top talent Neil Cowley on hand to give them some professional tips, the youngsters can add their own 21st century twist to the music, according to Martin.

‘This year part of the remit is that the groups will have the opportunity to put their own mark on some classic jazz standards, and work with a new genre that many young people won’t have much experience of.’ ‘

We’re delighted to welcome back Neil Cowley this year who’ll be putting the final touches to their performance ahead of their stage debut. And judging by some of the amazing talent which emerged during last year’s workshops, I’m really looking forward to the final festival performance.’

Festivals and Events Manager for Derry City Council, Karan Leonard said: ‘It’s fantastic to see the return of the Music Hothouse sessions this year, and of course the return of Neil Cowley who has been such a champion of local young talent throughout the City of Culture year.

‘The City of Derry Jazz Festival is as much about showcasing new talent as it is about providing a platform for established artists, so we’re delighted to support the Nerve Centre in giving young people the chance to shine once again this year.’

Although the places for this year’s Hothouse series are filled, music lovers can come along on Saturday May 3 to the Craft Village, and catch some of the best up and coming talent.

For further information about the event go to or email

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