Jazzing it up in style  

Jazzing it up in style  

Alleyn’s Jazz Night returned this week and this annual treat has always been a chance to showcase some fantastic emerging musical talent.

One of those bright young stars who has gone on to amazing things is Rianna Henriques (Brading’s 2019). Rianna is currently studying at the Royal College of Music as a Victor Dahdaleh Foundation Scholar and is an outstanding woodwind doubler, a joint-principal study flautist and saxophonist. Despite her Classical Bachelor of Music degree being well underway, Rianna has thrown herself the world of Jazz, interpreting and reshaping it in her own way. Rianna has quickly become one of the most unique and expressions musicians in the National Youth Jazz Orchestra (NYJO) with whom she is currently touring. She loves exploring music by various artists, transcribing their ideas and thrives off playing with other emerging jazz musicians of her generation. Rianna says: 

Being a music scholar at Alleyn’s School was a great privilege. Taking part in the various concerts, clubs and masterclasses helped me to not only gain experience as a player but to define myself as a musician. Jazz Night at Alleyn’s was always something to look forward to; it was a way to showcase the students’ musical talent in a fun and interactive way. Music is in all lives one way or another but to learn a musical instrument as a hobby or to be a musician as a career is to be able to express oneself and to control one’s emotions, to communicate with an audience or to be well on your way to mastering a lifetime skill.

Prior to joining up with NYJO, her experience mostly consisted of orchestral performances with the likes of the London Philharmonic and Chineke! Junior Orchestra. Rianna played in Big Bands from a young age – the most significant being the RCM Junior Big Band. In May 2021, Rianna was invited to get involved in the NYJO and the rest, as they say, is history.. 

In December 2020 Rianna took part in the semi-finals of Britain’s Got Talent as part of the Chineke! Junior Orchestra. The dynamic British youth orchestra, with a majority BME players aged 11-22 years old, played an incredible medley of classical and contemporary music including an epic intro of Strauss’ Also sprach Zarathustra and a vibrant and energetic cover of Beyonce’s Crazy in Love, receiving a standing ovation for their electrifying performance. 
During her time at Alleyn’s, Rianna was not only a music scholar and House Captain but also a recipient of the Liz Elliott Woodwind Prize and Head of the Symphony Orchestra (Woodwind). In 2019, she performed Fantaisie Brilliante sur Carmen at the annual Alleyn’s concert at St John’s Smith Square.  

If you’d like to come and see Rianna play, you can catch her with the band on the final legs of the Amy Winehouse tour for 2022 now or at some of these forthcoming performances:  

  • Sat 2nd April: Symphonica - D&B Show (The Level Nottingham) 

  • Weds 6th April: Aurum Trio Lunchtime Concert (Westminster Music Library) 

  • Sun 10th April: NYJO - Amy Winehouse (The Stables, Milton Keynes) 

  • Weds 13th April: BABYTEETH debut gig (Cherry Reds, Birmingham) 

  • Sat 16th April: NYJO - Amy Winehouse (BND ON THE WALL, Manchester) 

  • Fri 29th April: NYJO - Amy Winehouse (Londonderry, Northern Ireland) 

  • Thurs 5th May: NYJO - Hermeto Pascoal (Barbican Centre, Silk Street) 

  • Fri 13th May: NYJO - Hermeto Pascoal (Norfolk and Norwich Festival) 

  • Sat 21st May: Symphonica D&B Show (Hangar 34, Liverpool) 

For bookings and more information please visit the NYJO website here