- Jess Gillam Ensemble tour with 14 dates across the UK and Europe
- This Classical Life: Live! Returns to Alexandra Palace with special guests violinist Mari Samuelsen and composer/electric bassist Lauri Porra
- Recitals with classical guitarist Milos in Ulverston and Germany
Saxophonist and broadcaster Jess Gillam continues to animate the music world, bringing classical music to new audiences through both her captivating collaborations and her presenting work on television and radio. Hailing from Ulverston in Cumbria, Jess’s spring and summer season sees her travel across the UK, Europe and America, showcasing the breadth of the saxophone through her outstanding talent and infectious personality, presenting new music for the instrument and world-class collaborations.
After a nearly sold out run of concerts last year, the Jess Gillam Ensemble return for a 14-date summer tour. The group of eight musical friends have a bold, uplifting and open-minded approach – although they are rooted in classical music, they take inspiration from musical worlds far and wide. Expect to hear a new spin on CPE Bach, the drive and groove of music by John Harle, Will Gregory (Goldfrapp) and Barbara Thompson, folk infusions and the soaring beauty of music by Sakamoto, Debussy and maybe even some Björk! On paper, it might seem like a strange collection of music but the ensemble aims to find emotional through lines in music spanning centuries. Jess is joined by Ciaran McCabe & Michael Jones (violins); Eoin Schmidt-Martin (viola); Gabriella Swallow (cello); Sam Becker (bass); Elsa Bradley (percussion) and Leif Kaner-Lidstrom (piano). Together, they will aim to take audiences on a voyage of discovery in an electrifying programme inspired by showcasing the diversity, dynamism and versatility of the saxophone. The tour will include Newbury Spring Festival (6 May); Nottingham Trent University (10 May); St Martin in the Fields (12 May); Horsham Music Circle (13 May); Perth Concert Hall (16 May); West Wicklow Chamber Music Festival (20 May); Rosey Concert Hall, Switzerland (30 May); Leeds Old Woollen Mill (15 June) St Edmund’s Festival, Canterbury (28 June); Turner Sims, Southampton (7 July); Budleigh Music Festival (8 July); Ryedale Festival (27 July); Petworth Festival (29 July) with further dates still to be announced. More details here.
The Jess Gillam Ensemble have also been collaborating with Saffron Hall on Saffron Sounds – a multi-faceted project designed to inspire music making and creativity in the primary school Classroom. The Saffron Sounds online Hub features Jess explaining and demonstrating key musical concepts, alongside filmed performances, games, and exercises for use by teachers and students in school. This term members of the ensemble have delivered Saffron Sounds workshops to over 500 pupils in schools across Essex. Saffron Sounds Live – featuring the Jess Gillam Ensemble will take place in Saffron Hall (4 May), when pupils will have the opportunity to experience the full force of the Jess Gillam Ensemble, performing a special programme for primary schools, featuring a range of repertoire and plenty of participation – all inspired by this year’s Saffron Sounds theme – Space!
This Classical Life: Live! returns as Jess celebrates her ARIA-winning weekly BBC Radio 3 show and podcast, ‘This Classical Life’ with the BBC Concert Orchestra and special guests, live at Alexandra Palace Theatre on 19 June at 7.30pm.
Every week, Jess Gillam sits down with a musical guest for a listening party and conversation about the music they love most from any era, genre or style. In the live show, the spirit will be the same with an eclectic array of guest performers and live conversations on-stage.
Guest performers will include Norwegian violinist Mari Samuelsen who champions works by contemporary composers including Hannah Peel and will perform her Signals alongside a much-loved classic – the third movement of ‘Summer’ from Vivaldi’s Four Season and Matteis’ Alia Fantasia for solo violin. Finnish composer and rock meets classical electric-bassist Lauri Porra comes from a family of professional musicians stretching back four generations. He performs extracts from his Flyover Symphony with Jess. The show will also feature Sibelius’ Finlandia, Anna Clyne’s Masquerade and Jess performing Max Richter’s On the Nature of Daylight (arr. Mackay). Jess and her guests will be joined by the BBC Concert Orchestra, celebrated for their sound as well as their versatility, having recently performed in BBC Radio 2’s Piano Room Month alongside 20 pop musicians including Pink and Stormzy, and in a collaboration at Southbank Centre with Streetwise Opera. Celebrating the power of live music, the concert promises to be an exhilarating and emotional evening conducted by Anna-Maria Helsing. More details here. This Classical Life: Live will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and BBC Sounds on Tuesday 27 June at 7.30pm.
Jess is passionate about inspiring and bringing joy to people through music and believes that good music is good music regardless of the genre or label. On her BBC Radio 3 show, broadcast on the station every Saturday at 12:30pm and available as a podcast on BBC Sounds, audiences may hear The Prodigy next to Prokofiev, Hildegard von Bingen next to Bjork, Mendelssohn next to Michael Kiwanuka but there is one thing the sounds have in common: an ability to move us, transport us and connect us with alternative realities. Future guests include Soweto Kinch, composer Missy Mazzoli, sitar player Jasdeep Singh Degan, violinist Tessa Lark and a special edition with the mezzo- soprano Anne-Sofie von Otter.
European Concert Hall Organisation (ECHO) Rising Stars
Proving that European Concert Hall Organisation (ECHO) Rising Stars really do live up to their name, Jess Gillam’s international demand continues to grow and her international concert tour of halls in the ECHO network continues with performances at the Palau de la Música, Barcelona (31 May) and the Festspielhaus, Baden Baden (16 July). At the end of this season Jess will have given 12 concerts across Europe as part of the Rising Star series. Jess will present a programme including a commission by Edmund Finnis and music by John Harle, Poulenc, Barbara Thompson, Telemann, Ayanna Witter Johnson, John Harle, Dowland and Weill.
Jess is keen to broaden the repertoire for the saxophone. Following the huge success of the world premieres of Anna Clyne’s new saxophone concerto, she goes to Germany for the world premiere of Karl Jenkins’ Stravaganza with the Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin, conducted by Giancarlo Guerrero (11 June).
Jess makes her debut with Houston Symphony performing John Williams’ Escapades (12 April). Jess returns to her home town of Ulverston for two performances: first with Manchester Camerata who celebrate their 50th birthday this year (26 May), followed by a recital with guitarist Milos (23 June) featuring music by Piazzolla, Dowland, de Falla and Corelli. Jess and Milos will also perform together in Germany at Kissinger Sommer Festival (12 July) and Schleswig-Holstein Festival (13 July). Jess will also perform at Barbara Thompson’s Memorial Concert at Union Chapel, London (2 June). Barbara Thompson was such an inspiration for Jess and she is honoured to be performing in this celebration of her music and life. Jess joins the Hallé and conductor Kahchun Wong to perform John Harle’s Briggflatts as part of About Mcr: classical (24 June).
Full concert listings at jessgillamsax.co.uk/shows/