We are always so thrilled to share news of our alumni and to hear about their creative journeys and how the BYO inspired them to take their next steps. Have a read and see what our ‘Style King’  and past BYO cello player, Jordan Neville is up to these days.

When did you play with the BYO?

I was lucky enough to play with the orchestra from Year 6 to Year 12 (I think 2013-2018), and still have very fond memories of walking from Bellingen Primary to the High school via the lolly shop every Thursday.

What instrument / s do you play?

I played cello primarily and was lucky enough to ‘retire’ from the orchestra as first chair. I did mess around a fair bit though with instruments and was lucky enough to play a bit of trombone, percussion and, I think, even once moonlighted as a trumpeter (but only for some ABBA).

Where could we find you now? 

Currently I’m based in Melbourne, working in the fashion industry leading the sartorial department of Masons, a very cool boutique in the midst of it all. You can find me anywhere from Gertrude Street, Fitzroy, modelling for some of the city’s most exciting photographers, to Flinders Lane in the heart of the city outfitting some of the most talented and exciting people in Melbourne and from around the world.

What was your favourite memorable moment with the orchestra? 

Truly, it’s hard to narrow it down to just one piece or moment, but some highlights have to include the performance of the 1812 Overture (my grandmother’s favourite piece of music and one that has accompanied me my whole life), my first performance ever playing Edvard Grieg’s piano concerto with David (I can still remember the nerves), and maybe my most favourite memory, when I recently got the pleasure of listening to the orchestra as an audience member last year for the first time. Listening to everyone play reinforced how special it was, and is, to belong to such an amazing group of musicians and educators. I spent the concert in tears alongside my dear Mum (tears of happiness of course).

What is on your playlist this week? 

Since leaving the orchestra, and definitely because of the love of any and all music that it reinforced in me, my tastes have really strayed all over the place from classical to Appalachian bluegrass to Japanese jazz fusion.

This week I’ve been listening to three albums on repeat:

Comfort to Me by Amyl and the Sniffers (2021). I love the energy that Amyl and the Sniffers bring to their punk sound, it fills me with a lot of energy and gets me awake in the morning with a bit of extra pep in my step.

Anna & Elizabeth by Anna & Elizabeth (2015). It’s part bluegrass, part Celtic chant, part seafarers lament, I’m always left guessing as to where the album will softly lead me, the vocal harmonies are incredible.

Jazzamatazz by Guru (1993). After leaving the orchestra, my next musical love was jazz, which very quickly lead to include a lot of hip hop. I find both genres of music incredibly creative.  Jazz for me, in all of its variants, is maybe the most purest form of musical expression. Jazzamatazz is an amazing collaborative album, spearheaded by Guru (one half of Gang Starr), and includes some of the best jazz musicians of the last century in a seriously cool album that provides both the beats and rhymes of hip hop and the unbridled creativity of jazz.

What was the best thing you took away from the BYO?

If I had to narrow it down, it would have to be to the two things I continue to practice the most in my day-to-day life:

Firstly, constantly surround yourself with people who are better than you at something and once you find them, pester them with as many questions as you can: if you want to be a great cook, surround yourself with people who can imagine things beyond your palette or technical capabilities, if you want to be a great musician, surround yourself with people who can play better technically, more sensitively, more cohesively. I always find myself looking for people I can learn from or who can mentor me through into the next fishpond. upon reflection and looking back, this comes from the unofficial “buddy system” of the orchestra.

Secondly, it is trust in the spirit of amateurism and be happy being a complete novice at something. If something needs to be done beyond your skill set, throw yourself into it and drag as many talented and willing people with you as you can. This attitude and approach has helped me so many times, in setting stages for orchestra, styling shoots for internationally touring musicians and hell, even getting a job! If there is an opportunity to learn something or to be exposed to a new way of doing things that you are totally unqualified for, take it! It could just be the thing you needed to learn.

We have lots of new players every year … do you have any advice for our young players?

Put your hand up for everything and anything, especially the weird and wacky stuff that seems like it won’t go anywhere, it usually does, even if it’s only to a good time and a lot of laughs. I would also say try to find a context in which you can connect with music, every genre and piece is different. Honestly, it took me a while to connect with a lot of classical music. I found certain composers boring, and it was only once I had discovered a certain passage that I found exciting or moving that I began to connect. Once I had found those moments, I started to explore, classical became full of human emotion rather than instruments, jazz became creativity and feeling, and country became stories that at their core were human.

What essential creative experience should we be adding to our ‘to do’ list this year?

Something I have been thinking about a lot recently is the idea of “taking up space” creatively. I read a creative director of a design house talk about style and how when someone dresses more exuberantly, flamboyantly, experimentally, they take up more visual space and part of the challenge is to become comfortable with that. Since I heard that, it’s stuck with me and started to impact the way I interact with style, art, music and food. Flavour can take up so much or so little space, as can a painting, or an outfit, or a solo pouring over an orchestra. All of this is to say, think of a way you can take more creative space than you feel comfortable occupying and go for it, and there is an exciting journey ahead once you do.

If you could travel to one place in 2024 … where would it be?

Japan has been on the top of my list for a very long time, it’s home to some of, if not the, most talented artisans and designers working today. On top of that the culture, food, people are so very rich and generous. Oh, and there are also some of the best jazz bars on the planet there!


More than just an orchestra
More than just music

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