Jess Gillam
Saxophone

“Jess gave a great show with her hot licks, lustrous tone and winning passion” (The Times)

Contacts

Tom McNeill +44 (0)20 3725 9111
Ed Milner +44 (0)20 3725 9178
Chiara Beebe +44 (0)20 3725 9136

Biography

In partnership with Polyarts

In 2016, at the age of 17, Jess made history as the first saxophonist to win the Woodwind Final of BBC Young Musician of the Year. She then reached the Grand Final at London’s Barbican Hall, and performed Michael Nyman’s Where the Bee Dances with the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Mark Wigglesworth to widespread critical acclaim.  

In summer 2017, Jess made her BBC Proms debut at the Royal Albert Hall, where she performed as a soloist with both the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Jessica Cottis and the BBC Concert Orchestra conducted by Keith Lockhart.  

In partnership with Polyarts

In 2016, at the age of 17, Jess made history as the first saxophonist to win the Woodwind Final of BBC Young Musician of the Year. She then reached the Grand Final at London’s Barbican Hall, and performed Michael Nyman’s Where the Bee Dances with the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Mark Wigglesworth to widespread critical acclaim.  

In summer 2017, Jess made her BBC Proms debut at the Royal Albert Hall, where she performed as a soloist with both the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Jessica Cottis and the BBC Concert Orchestra conducted by Keith Lockhart.  

Concerto highlights include appearances with Southbank Sinfonia, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, and a showcase performance with the Manchester Camerata as well as a concert with Sinfonia Cymru and Gábor Takács-Nagy. She frequently gives recitals throughout the UK. Last year, Jess gave the premiere of a piece written for her by Jeremy Holland-Smith on BBC Four’s Choir of the Year, and has made a guest appearance with Jools Holland and his R&B Orchestra. 

Jess studies with Rob Buckland at the Royal Northern College of Music with an ABRSM Scholarship, and is mentored by John Harle. She has appeared on BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio 4 (Woman’s Hour), BBC Radio 2, BBC 6 Music and BBC Radio Cumbria, who have made a programme about her. In 2015, Jess was awarded Musician of the Year at the Cumbria Culture Awards. 

Jess has been featured as a Rising Star in BBC Music Magazine as well as being a James Naughtie interviewee. She is a Vandoren UK Artist, and became the youngest ever endorsee for Yanagisawa Saxophones aged 13. Jess is a patron for Awards for Young Musicians and promotes her own series of concerts, bringing international talent to her hometown of Ulverston.

Jess is very grateful for the support she has received from the Young Classical Artists Trust.

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Contacts

Tom McNeill +44 (0)20 3725 9111
Ed Milner +44 (0)20 3725 9178
Chiara Beebe +44 (0)20 3725 9136

Reviews

“A champion of the saxophone in the classical sphere” (BBC Music Magazine)

“Life affirming musician” (BBC, Clemency Burton-Hill)

“A true inspiration... she frankly rocks” (Huffington Post Entertainment)

“Jess already has her place in the saxophone hall of fame” (John Harle)

“A champion of the saxophone in the classical sphere” (BBC Music Magazine)

“Life affirming musician” (BBC, Clemency Burton-Hill)

“A true inspiration... she frankly rocks” (Huffington Post Entertainment)

“Jess already has her place in the saxophone hall of fame” (John Harle)

“The sound of the future” (Melvyn Bragg
)

“Funny, cool and down to earth... What was not to like?” (Gramophone Magazine)

“Jess gave a great show with her hot licks, lustrous tone and winning passion” (The Times)

“...highlights of the afternoon performance included Jess Gillam’s soaring soprano saxophone in Peter Sculthorpe’s Island Songs.” (The Guardian

“…the elfin Jess Gillam, a young woman so full of music that her instrument seemed like some talisman belonging nowhere but in her hands” (Wales Arts Review)

“Her stage presence is charismatic, infectiously extrovert, and highly expressive as is her sound which ranged from vibrantly coloured and imaginative to haunting and delicate. She was assured and comfortable on stage, interacting enthusiastically with the orchestra and lifting the sound out of her instrument and into the audience.” (Bachtrack)

“She was in full command of the dance-like opening …she communicated an individual and instinctive personality” (Classical Source)