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TRAILBLAZING TEENAGER BECOMES FIRST SAXOPHONIST TO SIGN TO DECCA CLASSICS IN MAJOR NEW RECORD DEAL
Jess Gillam / Photo: © Dominic Nicholls
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 15th July, and secondly as one of the star soloists in the ever-popular Last Night of the Proms on 8th September.
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.