BBC Music has announced its plans for TV coverage of the BBC Proms, including the addition of Jess Gillam to presenting duties.
Extensive coverage of the world’s largest classical music festival – which runs July 19 to September 14 – will be available across BBC TV and Radio. Twenty-five Proms concerts will be screened on BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Four and CBeebies, alongside the full coverage on BBC Radio 3.
Following her performance at the Last Night of the Proms in 2018, Decca-signed Jess Gillam will join the core presenting line-up of the BBC Proms television coverage, alongside Katie Derham, Suzy Klein and Tom Service.
The 21-year-old saxophonist and broadcaster became the youngest-ever permanent presenter on BBC Radio 3 in April, fronting her own weekly programme This Classical Life. She has performed at the BAFTAs and the National Portrait Gallery Annual Gala.
Gillam said: “The BBC Proms is a truly incredible celebration of music and at any Prom, I am completely taken by the electric atmosphere and connection created between performer and audience. Making my festival debut in 2017 and performing at the iconic Last Night of the Proms in 2018 are both highlights of my career so far, so to be returning as a presenter is really exciting!”
Head over to the Presenting page for a full list of Proms concerts that Jess will be presenting.
Jess Gillam was “the indisputed highlight of the Last Night of the Proms”. Her performance of Milhaud’s Scaramouche with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Sir Andrew Davis, brought the Royal Albert Hall to its feet and has been widely praised by viewers and Prommers alike. She also joined baritone Gerald Finley for World War II Song Sequence arranged by Anne Dudley.
Before heading to the hall, Jess performed at Proms in the Park where she played Michael Nyman’s If with the BBC Concert Orchestra and Richard Balcombe. There were more than 40,000 people at the park, and the performance was broadcast live on BBC Radio 2 and as part of the BBC One coverage of the night.
Jess released Scaramoucheand If as her debut tracks with Decca Classics on the Friday before her performance, which peaked at number 1 and 2 respectively in the classical iTunes chart over the weekend.
“Jess Gillam, the saxophonist from the Lake District, lighting up the hall with her seemingly effortless virtuosity and limitless expressiveness. Milhaud’s jazzy Scaramouche (1937 – 9) couldn’t have been a better choice. Gillam is all set for stardom: to listen is to love her.”
“Saxophonist Jess Gillam steals the show.” /// “She may only be 20 years old, but saxophonist Jess Gillam was the indisputable highlight of the Last Night of the Proms.”
“Jess Gillam…whirled through Milhaud’s Scaramouche, her outfit as dazzling as her fingerwork.”
After making her BBC Proms debut in two Proms last year (John Williams Prom and BBC Ten Pieces Prom), Jess Gillam has been invited to perform in two Proms this year! She will be the youngest ever female soloist in the prestigious Last Night and she will also perform in the BBC Young Musician Prom to celebrate 40 years of the competition.
In the Last Night, she will perform Scaramouche by Darius Milhaud with the BBC Symphony Orchestra under the baton on Sir Andrew Davis.
For more info of both events please click on the links below:
From Jess: “I feel extremely honoured to have been asked to perform at such a prestigious event and I cannot wait for the concert! I felt there was such an incredible atmosphere at the Proms last year – the audience were so attentive, the atmosphere was electric so I can’t begin to imagine how the Last Night will feel!
I found out about being asked to perform at the Last Night a few months ago and it has been very difficult to keep it quiet. I’ll also be performing at the BBC Young Musician Prom to celebrate 40 years of the competition and I’m really looking forward to being a part of that as the competition has been such a brilliant platform for me.
I will be performing Scaramouche by Darius Milhaud. It consists of three quite contrasting movements – the first being lively and bright, the second very beautiful and gentle whilst the third is fantastically energetic and very reminiscent of a carnival! I first began playing saxophone, aged 7, in the Barracudas carnival band and it will be fantastic to perform music of a similar spirit at a concert like this. The piece was written to be performed at the Théâtre Scaramouche, which is where the name originates from – Theatre Scaramouche specialized in plays and productions specifically for children. The piece is an absolute joy to play and I am very excited to perform it!”
At the start of the summer, the BBC’s Proms Extra team filmed Jess as she prepared for her 2017 Proms debut. The resulting film with studio discussion and contributions from Nicola Benedetti, is now on the Videos page.
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.
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.