Electrifying young classical saxophonist Jess Gillam is set to release her debut recordings for Decca Classics tomorrow, Friday 7th September, ahead of her Proms double-bill the following day. She will be performing Michael Nyman’s ‘If’ (from The Diary of Anne Frank) at Proms in the Park in Hyde Park before dashing across to the Royal Albert Hall to perform ‘Brazileira’ from Scaramouche by Darius Milhaud as part of the Last Night of the Proms. Both tracks will be available digitally tomorrow, along with accompanying music videos, released on Saturday.

20-year-old Jess Gillam signed an exclusive recording deal with Decca Classics earlier this year – becoming the first saxophone player to join the historic label. Her first two tracks capture her versatility and musicality, and provide a taster of what’s to come on her debut album next year.

Jess says: “Making my first recordings for Decca has been such an enjoyable experience and I can’t wait to play these two fantastic pieces live in Hyde Park and at the Royal Albert Hall. To be performing at the Last Night of the Proms feels quite surreal and it’s doubly exciting to be performing at Proms in the Park too!”

As well as performing ‘If’ and ‘Brazileira’ from Scaramouche, Jess will be joining acclaimed baritone Gerald Finley for a duet as part of the Last Night celebrations in the Royal Albert Hall. She will also be taking over the hall’s Instagram account (@royalalberthall) for behind-the-scenes content, revealing her preparations for the night.

Hailing from Ulverston in Cumbria, Jess is already blazing a trail in the music world with her outstanding talent and infectious personality. She first caught the public eye during BBC Young Musician 2016 when, at the age of 17, she made history as the first saxophonist to reach the final of the competition – wowing audiences with her performance of Michael Nyman’s Where the Bee Dances.

Jess made her BBC Proms debut at the Royal Albert Hall last year and returned earlier this year as part of the BBC Young Musician 40th Anniversary Prom, where she gave a toe-tapping performance of ‘Gershwinicity’ by Iain Farrington.

Jess’ concert career continues to go from strength to strength. In June, Jess made her international debut with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra (Sweden) and upcoming appearances include concerts with the L’Auditori Barcelona (Spain), Argovia Philharmonic (Switzerland), Tampere Philharmonic (Finland) and a recital at the acclaimed Philip’s Collection series in Washington DC (USA). She also appears extensively in recital throughout the UK and performs with orchestras including the BBC Philharmonic, BBC Concert Orchestra, Royal Northern Sinfonia and Manchester Camerata. She is a champion of new music for saxophone and there will be a number of new commissions written for her over the coming years.

Hooked on saxophone from a young age, Jess is keen to give people from all backgrounds access to classical music and has set up her own concert series in Ulverston, bringing world-renowned musicians from across the world to her hometown. She is also a patron for Awards for Young Musicians, a charity which offers promising young performers support to progress their musical talent. Jess continues to be mentored by internationally-renowned saxophonist and producer John Harle.

Jess talks eloquently about music and has already made a number of high profile media appearances in the UK. She contributes to programming and presenting on TV and radio, and hosts the BBC Young Musician podcast alongside bassist Sam Becker and pianist Zeynep Özsuca. She also recently featured in a BBC Four documentary celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the BBC Young Musician competition. Throughout the 2018 Proms season, Jess appeared in a weekly slot on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme alongside broadcaster James Naughtie, and she has presented an episode of Saturday Classics on BBC Radio 3.

A free spirit in style and character, Jess Gillam is constantly seeking new opportunities for the saxophone and is always pushing musical boundaries. As she embarks on a brand new recording career, there looks to be no stopping this bright and adventurous young musician as she reaches the latest milestone in her flourishing career.


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