Who is Jess Gillam, the saxophonist? Recordings, age, concerts and social media

8 February 2019, 13:44 | Updated: 8 February 2019, 13:46

Jess Gillam is a 20-year-old saxophonist, known for being one of the most exciting emerging artists in classical music. From her concerts and recordings to her Instagram handle, here’s everything you need to know.

Jess Gillam, 20, is a saxophonist and rising star of the classical music world.

Last year, she was the recipient of a Classic Brit Award in the Sound of Classical Poll 2018, which recognises the best emerging artists in classical music. She was also the first-ever saxophonist to reach the final of BBC Young Musician.

She records exclusively for Decca Classics, and released her debut album with the record label last year.

Why is there no saxophone in the orchestra? Jess Gillam explains >

Jess Gillam’s concerts and performances

It was recently announced that Jess will be performing alongside the obituaries at this year’s BAFTA Awards, on Sunday 10 February.

On 11, 13 and 16 February, Jess will be performing a number of ‘varied recitals’ around the UK with pianist Zeynep Ozsuca. She will later join the Tampere Philharmonia in Finland, before playing with the Banda Municipal de Barcelona in Spain. All her upcoming show dates can be found here.

Jess is particularly known for her take on ‘Where the Bee Dances’ by Michael Nyman, which she performed with the Southbank Sinfonia at Shine 2017, an ABRSM event celebrating music and music education.

Jess is also known for her pioneering attitude towards the classical concert. She recently told The Telegraph that she would like to see more dancing, cheering and clapping between movements, saying, “an instinctive reaction from the audience only proved the joy of music”.

Where did Jess study saxophone?

Jess studies at the Royal Northern College of Music with an ABRSM scholarship, and is mentored by respected saxophonist and composer John Harle.

Jess is a keen endorser of the saxophone; at just 13 she became the youngest ever endorsee for Yanagisawa Saxophones, and she is also a patron for Awards for Young Musicians.

She also gave a TEDx talk on the instrument, aged just 15. The video now has over 100,000 views on YouTube.

Jess grew up in Ulverston, and is now keen to promote her own concerts and bring international talent to her hometown.

Jess Gillam at Hyde Park
Jess Gillam at Hyde Park. Picture: Getty

Jess Gillam’s father

Last year, Gillam’s father Doug gave an interview, saying his daughter’s success was a constant source of pride.

“It's amazing,” he told The Mail. “Jess has lots of good news on a regular basis and it is quite difficult to take in sometimes. It doesn't seem quite real. Playing at the Royal Opera House was a dream of Jess' and now she's going back again.

“She is very much the same girl. When she's on TV she is still the same person that she was when she's in Ulverston. She is doing amazing things but in the street she has always been the same person.”

Jess Gillam on social media

Jess can be found posting on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.