Today Classic BRIT award-winning saxophonist Jess Gillam launches the Jess Gillam Virtual Scratch Orchestra. She is inviting musicians of any standard to come together and play music virtually with her, giving the first performance online on Friday 17 April.

Jess Gillam said: ‘For me, music is all about people! People uniting, people sharing and people listening. At a very difficult time, when it is not currently possible to be physically together to share and make music, hopefully this is a way in which we can create something together from afar. ‘Where Are We Now?’ is one of my favourite songs by David Bowie. It’s hauntingly beautiful and seems very appropriate as we all reflect on the world and what is happening around us. This is the first song he released after a long period of silence in 2013.’

Find out more here –




One of today’s most electrifying young musicians, 19-year-old Jess Gillam, has signed an exclusive recording deal with Decca Classics– becoming the first saxophone player to join the historic label. This major new deal will help nurture her musical development as she takes the next steps in her growing career. She will enter the recording studio for Decca for the first time later this year.

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.

On signing to the label, Jess Gillam said: “I’m so excited to become the first saxophonist ever to join Decca Classics! The saxophone is such a dynamic, versatile and expressive instrument and I cannot wait to record some of my favourite music and share my passion for music and saxophone with as many people as possible.”

Dr. Alexander Buhr, Managing Director of Decca Classics, commented:“Jess is a unique new voice in the classical music world. She is an exceptionally talented and dedicated musician, and a great communicator. Her charisma and energy are undeniable. We are delighted to welcome her to the Decca Classics family and look forward to partnering with her on her musical journey ahead.”

Rebecca Allen, President of Decca Records,added: “Jess is spearheading a new generation of young female artists whose captivating personality and compelling musicianship offer a bright future to classical music.”

Last year, Jess made her BBC Proms debut at the Royal Albert Hall, and she will be returning this year for two more performances: firstly, as part of the BBC Young Musician 40th Anniversary Prom on 15thJuly, and secondly as one of the star soloists in the ever-popular Last Night of the Proms on 8thSeptember.

Jess’ concert career continues to go from strength to strength – highlights include regular performances with the Manchester Camerata, Royal Northern Sinfonia and BBC Concert Orchestra. She makes her debut with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra this autumn and has already appeared with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, BBC National Orchestra of Wales and made a guest appearance with Jools Holland and his R&B Orchestra. On the international stage, Jess will be performing with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra (Sweden), L’Auditori Barcelona (Spain), Argovia Philharmonic (Switzerland) and Tampere Philharmonic (Finland). Jess 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 is currently studying at Royal Northern College of Music and with internationally-renowned saxophonist John Harle.

Jess talks eloquently about music and has already made a number of high profile media appearances in the UK including BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio 4 (Woman’s Hour) and BBC Radio 6 Music, plus BBC Radio Cumbria made a programme about her. She featured in the recent BBC Four documentary, ‘BBC Young Musician: Forty Years Young’ and is also the presenter of a brand new series of BBC Young Musician podcasts which explore what it takes to be a musician in today’s world.

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.

A pdf of the Decca Classics Jess Gillam Press Release can be downloaded here.

Jess Gillam is managed by HarrisonParrott/Polyarts and remains grateful to the Young Classical Artists Trust for their support. She is a Vandoren UK Artist, and became the youngest ever endorsee for Yanagisawa Saxophones aged 13.




Jess has been nominated for The Sound of Classical poll at the Classic Brits 2018! “The future is very much on the Classic BRIT Awards’ agenda with the launch of The Sound Of Classical poll to promote the best emerging artists and ones-to-watch in classical music. Aged 30 or under and tipped for a great future, the winner will be chosen by an expert panel and revealed at the ceremony in June.”

BBC Young Musician – The Podcast

19-year old Jess Gillam has taken the classical music world by storm since being the first saxophonist to reach the final of BBC Young Musician in 2016. In this series of six podcasts (published weekly from Friday 6th April to coincide with the TV broadcasts) she’s joined by two of her friends and musical partners, pianist Zeynep Ozcusa and bass player Sam Becker, to explore just what it takes to make a life in music. They’ll be joined by special guests, including former Young Musicians winners Nicola Bennedetti and Sheku-Kanneh Mason, to talk about everything from stage fright and memorising music, to choosing what to wear on stage.


Katie Derham presents the final Proms Extra for the Proms season. On this show, she is joined by percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie, star saxophonist Jess Gillam and acclaimed pianist Stephen Hough as they cast an eye over Stravinsky’s Violin Concerto, The Big Band Prom and the Jools Holland Stax Prom. Click photo to watch.

Click photo to watch on iPlayer!

On 20th July, Jess made her BBC Proms debut at the Royal Albert Hall with the BBC Concert Orchestra conducted by Keith Lockhart. She performed “Joy Ride” from Escapades by John Williams. Jess also performed in the BBC Ten Pieces Prom on 23rd July with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Jessica Cottis.

Follow links to watch performances:-

Jess will join the section of the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra/the Halle Orchestra in a concert in support of the families and friends of the victims of the Manchester terror attack.

All of Manchester’s communities stand together in strength, resilience and love.

In this most musical of cities, Manchester’s orchestral musicians from the Hallé, the BBC Philharmonic and the Manchester Camerata will come together with The Bridgewater Hall for a concert in support of the families and friends of the victims of last Monday’s atrocity.


Thursday 1 June 2017 at 8pm
At The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester
Sir Mark Elder and Stephen Bell will conduct members of the Hallé, Manchester Camerata and BBC Philharmonic orchestras
Performances by Clare Teal, Alice Coote and Guy Garvey

The evening will include inspiring and uplifting classical music, a performance by Alice Coote – one of the world’s finest mezzo sopranos – as well as songs from international jazz star Clare Teal and award-winning singer-songwriter Guy Garvey.

Please keep checking back here for more information and programme updates.


All of the available seats for #WeStandTogether have now been allocated. Please do keep checking back for any returns.

Please keep donating – and please return any unwanted tickets to the box office. Thank you to everyone for your support #WeStandTogether.

Everyone involved with the event are giving their services free. Tickets for the concert are free, but you MUST have a ticket to gain entry. Please note: tickets are limited to four per household.