Dr John Ruddick, MBE – Musical Director

Dr. John Ruddick MBE is the Musical Director of the Midland Youth Jazz Orchestra and led the band to a record eleven wins in the BBC National Big Band Competition, initially in the Youth Section, but then in the Senior Section. The band was unbeaten in the Competition for twenty years. In 2004 it opened the IAJE Conference in Toronto, and was introduced as one of the finest young jazz orchestras in the world. His wife Nichola has made an immense contribution to the success of the MYJO organisation as a whole keeping the three bands running smoothly during weekly rehearsals and gigs.

Critical Acclaim and Awards 

  • Received award for “Outstanding Service to Jazz Education” in Miami in 1991, and again in Toronto in 2004.
  • Received “Outstanding Musician” award in the 1996 BBC Big Band Contest, and again in 2004.
  • Winner of Marty Paich Arranging Award 1993 
  • Awarded Honorary Doctorate of Music in 2006 by Birmingham University
  • Awarded Member of the British Empire in 2014 by HRH Prince Charles


John performs as a freelance trumpet player across the UK and Europe which included being a member of the late Don Lusher’s Big Band. He has also performed many times with the BBC Big Band, and the Fat Chops Big Band .

He also leads his own jazz quintet which has produced a CD “My Favourite Girl”.

As a in-demand lead and jazz trumpeter / flugelhorn player, John has performed for or with;

  • BBC Radio and TV
  • Independent TV
  • BBC Big Band
  • Syd Lawrence Orchestra
  • BBC Symphony Orchestra
  • Shirley Bassey Orchestra
  • Stanley Black Orchestra
  • Touring Shows (Fame, Fiddler On The Roof etc.)
  • Peggie Lee, Frankie Laine, Three Degrees, Supremes, Bruce Forsyth etc.

Education Work

John also plans and delivers jazz workshops throughout the country, with bands big and small band at all sorts of venues such as schools, colleges and community centres.

In addition to MYJO, John also runs other big bands for Birmingham Music Service, a community group for adult jazz beginners, the Martineau Big Band and the recently formed Birmingham Big Band which has toured in Germany and The Netherlands.