The Youth Jazz Orchestra debuted in September 2008 at the NEC Preparatory School. Since then they have been recognized as one of the Preparatory School's premier large ensembles and were showcased at the 2009 and 2010 Feast of Music. YJO were featured as part of Boston's First Night Celebrations for First Night 2010-2012. Having given their Jordan Hall Debut on June 2, 2009, YJO performs in NEC's Jordan Hall on a yearly basis and also gives performances in Brown Hall.
The Orchestra is directed by celebrated jazz artist Bob Nieske, who is also a member of the New England Conservatory College faculty. The ensemble rehearses on Saturday afternoons, 3–5 PM, beginning in September, and is open to pre-college-age trumpet, trombone, saxophone, piano, guitar, bass, and percussion players.