A musical force of nature, Jess Gillam has been forging her own adventurous path since she shot to fame becoming the first saxophonist to reach the finals of BBC Young Musician and the youngest ever soloist to perform at the Last Night of the Proms. Passionate about inspiring and bringing joy to people through music, Jess invites audiences on journeys of musical discovery through her electrifying performances and eclectic programming.
Her infectious enthusiasm and passion for classical and non-classical music lights up every stage and in her newly-formed Jess Gillam Ensemble she brings together a group of brilliant musicians who share her bold, uplifting and open-minded approach.
After topping the classical charts with her latest album ‘TIME’, Jess performs music from the record with a small ensemble made up of an incredible group of musicians from a wide range of musical backgrounds but with roots in classical music. This promises to be an explosive concert designed to showcase the diversity, dynamism and versatility of the saxophone, and to inspire audiences to reflect, dance and smile!
A musician of eclectic artistry, Latvian violinist Roberts Balanas enjoys a wide range of musical interests and aims to tear down the boundaries between different genres of music. Combining a background in classical music with the sound worlds of pop, rock and funk, his solo violin arrangements have amassed millions of views online in the past year and have been featured by The Strad Magazine, Classic FM and BBC Radio 3.
His musical collaborations include eminent artists such as Trevor Pinnock, Semyon Bychkov, Sir Mark Elder and Edward Gardner.
As an in demand bass player, Sam is equally at home in the studio as he is on stage. He graduated from the Royal Academy of Music in 2018 and has since enjoyed a busy and varied musical career in the classical arena as well as on the pop stage with his own band SUN SILVA.
He has performed and recorded for some of the UK’s leading orchestras and artists including Bryan Ferry, the John Wilson Orchestra, the Hallé, Alexis Taylor (of Hot Chip) and the BBC Philharmonic. Sam’s band SUN SILVA were billed by BBC Radio 1’s Jack Saunders on his UK wide tour “Hopscotch” and their debut single ‘Blue Light’ featured on the international best-selling game FIFA 19, a game bought by over 20 million people. Their newer releases have been met with critical acclaim; they were featured as ’track of the day’ by Clash Magazine and DIY Magazine described their music as “remarkably assured… propulsive and idiosyncratic’.
Elsa Bradley is a London-based percussionist, originating from the green hills of West Yorkshire. She graduated from King’s College, London and the Royal College of Music with first-class degrees and has gone on to play with a wide variety of orchestras, chamber ensembles and solo artists across the UK, Europe and Canada. Elsa has played with many of the UK’s major orchestras, working regularly with the BBC Symphony and Concert Orchestras, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, The Philharmonia, and the London Contemporary Orchestra.
As a chamber musician, Elsa enjoys playing with both period and contemporary music ensembles, including her own percussion collective Abstruckt Ensemble. She also plays the hammered dulcimer and Hungarian cimbalom, which has taken her right from folk festivals to theatre pits and the BBC Proms.
Alongside multiple BBC Radio 3 appearances and TV/film soundtracks, Elsa features on the albums of saxophonist Jess Gillam, Voces8 and Erland Cooper. Elsa is also a passionate educator, instrumental teacher and workshop leader who is frequently involved with the Benedetti Foundation and Multi-Story Orchestra. If she’s not playing music Elsa loves to be outdoors, mostly on a bike exploring new places.
Originally from Birmingham, violinist Michael Jones enjoys a busy and fun performing career working with orchestras and ensembles all over the UK. Memorable moments over the past few years include performing from memory at the BBC Proms with Aurora Orchestra, touring Europe with Manchester Camerata and Martha Argerich, every single concert with the John Wilson Orchestra(!), his parents travelling to Vienna to see the English Chamber Orchestra in the Musikverein, performing and recording all the Beethoven Symphonies with Britten Sinfonia conducted by Thomas Ades, playing ‘The Rite of Spring’ with the Muti-Story Orchestra in a car park in Peckham, Ibiza Classics at the O2 Arena with the Heritage Orchestra, recording one of his favourite pieces ‘Variations on a theme of Frank Bridge’ with the newly formed Sinfonia of London and playing in the pit for the West End musical Wicked!
During the past year he was lucky enough to get a job at his favourite pub in the whole of London – The Spurstowe Arms.
Leif Kaner-Lidström is a pianist and composer, a graduate of the Royal Northern College of Music where he studied with professor Dina Parakhina. Leif has performed in a number of venues across the UK and internationally. He made his solo debut at Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall in October 2017, where he also played a recital with his father Mats Lidstrom, cellist and professor at the Royal Academy of Music in May 2019. Together, they have performed duo recitals around the UK, Sweden, Italy and performed on BBC Radio 3 In-Tune with Sean Rafferty.
In 2018 Leif accompanied mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter on a recital tour to Vietnam, Australia and New Zealand. Since then they have performed together in Germany, Sweden, Teatro Massimo in Sicily, and on national radio. Their collaboration will continue at the Wigmore Hall, Neuhardenberg, Germany, and in Helsinki, Finland this year.
Eoin Schmidt-Martin began his musical studies at the Cork School of Music before receiving a full scholarship to study at the Royal Academy of Music in London. Since 2005 he has been a member of the Carducci String Quartet.
An internationally renowned Anglo-Irish string quartet based in the UK, the versatile and award-winning Carducci has performed everything from brand new quartets, classic works by Haydn, complete Shostakovich cycles, and even partnered with folk-rock icon Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull. Founded in 1997, the ensemble has won numerous international competitions, including Concert Artists Guild International Competition USA 2007 and First Prize at Finland’s Kuhmo International Chamber Music Competition 2004. In 2016, they took home a Royal Philharmonic Society Award for their performances of cycles of the complete Shostakovich Quartets. This Shostakovich15 project was accompanied by a recording of quartets 4, 8 and 11 for Signum Classics, to which the quartet added a further volume in spring 2019 (1,2 and 7) acclaimed by Gramophone Magazine for its “…athletic, upfront performances, clear in texture, forthright in tone and bold in articulation.”
The quartet has released a number of acclaimed recordings on their own label, Carducci Classics, as well as Signum Classics, and their Naxos recordings of Philip Glass Quartets have had over seven million plays on Spotify.
Gabriella Swallow has emerged as one of the most versatile and exciting cellists of her generation. She studied at Chethams’ School of Music and The Royal College of Music where she was awarded the coveted Tagore Gold Medal and performed the Hugh Wood Cello Concerto in her final year. As a soloist Gabriella went on to make her South Bank debut with the London Sinfonietta in the world premiere of ‘About Water’ by Mark-Anthony Turnage.
She made her Wigmore Hall debut with the soprano Ruby Hughes in 2013 and in 2016 she made her BBC Proms debut with Guy Johnston and his 12 cello ensemble at Cadogan Hall. In 2017 she performed the world premiere of Colin Riley’s double cello concerto with Guy and the Manchester Camerata. She has collaborated with the violinist Nigel Kennedy for the last 10 years and is a member of his Hendrix Project Band. In 2020 Gabriella became a member of Jess Gillam’s Ensemble after recording her album ‘Time’ for Decca Classics. In 2021 the Jess Gillam Ensemble completed their first UK tour.
Alongside her classical career she regularly crosses over in the fields of jazz and pop and is a sought after session musician. She has played and recorded for numerous artists including Ariana Grande, Dionne Warwick, Bryan Ferry, Mark Ronson, Ian Shaw, Claire Martin, Beverley Craven, Charlotte Church, Voces8, Gareth Malone, China Moses and Rick Astley. She has been a member of the Welsh singer-songwriter Judith Owen’s band since 2007 and supported Bryan Ferry on both his USA and European Tours.
In 2019 her quartet ShowStrings accompanied Hugh Jackman on his Greatest Show European Tour. Gabriella joined Rob Brydon’s band in 2020 and looks forward to resuming his tour from September 2021.