Jess Gillam - The Saxophonist

Jess-Gillam_BBC-Young-Musician-2016We are always on the lookout for new and exciting talent combined with someone who just shines a light on the world of music – and we’ve found one! Jess Gillam – a saxophonist! Wow, what an artist. She is only twenty years old but has done so much and is just such an amazing performer.

Jess is a true ambassador for music and for showing a perfect example of how you can have a dream and follow a path that takes you beyond normal and one that is reachable by all. From what we have learned by reading and listening to Jess, she had a regular up-bringing in Ulverston and did what so many children do if offered - take up the opportunity to learn a musical instrument. She was offered the chance to have saxophone lessons and loved it from the off. She must have practiced, remembered her instrument and books every week and really taking notice during her lessons. Something that we all wish all students/children would do!

Jess is predominately in the classical world and is the first saxophonist in history to sign an exclusive record contract with Decca Classics record label. I can see her crossing over to many other genres during her career and being a forerunner for combining classical music with other genres on her albums in the future. She has played on Jools Holland and has just such a natural talent that she and her saxophones will be invited all over the world to perform in the years to come. The strange irony is that the saxophone is not traditionally a classical instrument – it comes predominately from the world of jazz. It often doesn’t have any part in a classical orchestra. The saxophone was invented after many of the traditional instruments in an orchestra and consequently there are no parts for the saxophone often in classical scores. This isn’t to say that parts can’t be written and maybe we have found someone who is going to change the dynamic of the traditional orchestra and inject a new life into what is sometimes regarded as an out of date constitution. Jess also likes the idea of more audience participation and more clapping during performances – crazy stuff!

Jess was awarded the “Sound of Classical Poll” award at the Classic BRIT 2018 awards at the Royal Albert Hall. She was also the first saxophonist to win the Woodwind final in the BBC Young Musician of the Year competition in 2016. In 2018 Jess was the youngest ever female soloist to perform at the BBC Last Night of the Proms.

Jess plays saxophones from Yanagisawa Saxophones UK and reeds from Vanderoen UK. Both companies endorse Jess.

Jess plays many different saxophones and most of her performances are on the alto saxophone and soprano saxophone. She is still studying at the Royal Northern College of Music with an ABRSM Scholarship. Alongside her studies, she is performing in many concerts which can all be found on her website.

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