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. Jess returns to perform two proms in 2018, the BBC Young Musician Prom and the Last Night of the Proms. In June 2018 Jess makes her international debut with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra and Santtu Mathias-Rouvali.
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 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.
Jess Gillam records exclusively for Decca Classics.
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