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  • Pedro Iturralde (b. 1929):
  • 1Pequeña Czarda (Arr. Harle)03:32
  • Kate Bush (b. 1958):
  • 2This Woman's Work (Arr. Lawson)04:12
  • Alessandro Marcello (1673 - 1747): Oboe Concerto in D Minor S.Z799:
  • 3Oboe Concerto in D Minor S.Z799: 2. Adagio (Arr. Harle)03:43
  • Darius Milhaud (1892 - 1974): Scaramouche Suite, Op. 165c:
  • 4Scaramouche Suite, Op. 165c: 3. Brazileira02:37
  • John Williams (b. 1932):
  • 5Escapades – 1. Closing in (From "Catch me if you can")02:44
  • Michael Nyman (b. 1944): The Diary of Anne Frank
  • 6The Diary of Anne Frank: If (Arr. Harle)04:40
  • John Harle (b. 1956):
  • 7RANT!05:56
  • David Bowie (1947 - 2016):
  • 8Where are we now? (Arr. Harle)04:16
  • Kurt Weill (1900 - 1950):
  • 9Je ne t'aime pas (Arr. Campbell)04:08
  • John Dowland (1563 - 1626): Second Booke of Songes, 1600:
  • 10Second Booke of Songes, 1600: 2. Flow my Tears (Arr. Solomons)02:20
  • Rudy Wiedoeft (1893 - 1940):
  • 11Valse Vanité04:23
  • Dmitri Shostakovich (1906 - 1975): Suite for Variety Orchestra:
  • 12Suite for Variety Orchestra: 7. Waltz 2 (Arr. Campbell)03:06
  • Traditional:
  • 13Dark Eyes (Arr. Harle)02:53
  • Francis Lai (1932 - 2018):
  • 14Love Story – Theme (Arr. Campbell)03:30
  • Total Runtime52:00

Info for Rise

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.

20 year-old Jess says: “To record an album has been a huge ambition of mine for a very long time so I can’t believe it’s actually happening! I’ve learned a lot through the recording process and the whole album consists of music I love so I am very excited to share it; I really hope you enjoy listening!”

Jess Gillam is not only renowned for her musicianship, but also her passion for music education. Yesterday, she wrote an open letter in The Guardian, calling on politicians to support music tuition in schools, as funding cuts continue to threaten the opportunities for children to learn an instrument and develop a greater understanding of the arts. “Music has changed my life,” wrote Jess. “I feel I have a duty to help ensure that others can benefit from its magic.”

Jess Gillam’s new album ‘Rise’ reflects her own musical journey and the pieces which have inspired her in her career. She recorded it with the BBC Concert Orchestra and chamber musicians, as well as celebrated guitarist MILOŠ, who features on the track ‘Flow My Tears’ – a transcription of the familiar Renaissance lute song by John Dowland.

The album includes beautiful cover versions of songs by two of Jess’s biggest heroes: Kate Bush’s ballad ‘This Woman’s Work’ and David Bowie’s timeless ‘Where Are We Now?’. There are also familiar hits from the world of film, such as ‘Closing In’ by John Williams (as featured in Steven Spielberg’s 2002 film Catch Me If You Can), Michael Nyman’s ‘If’ (from The Diary of Anne Frank) and the bonus track, Francis Lai’s ‘Theme from Love Story’.

The recording also features two of Jess’ signature pieces: ‘Pequeña Czarda’ by Pedro Iturralde, which she played in BBC Young Musician 2016 wind category final, and Darius Milhaud’s ‘Brazileira’ from Scaramouche, which she performed to great acclaim at the Last Night of the Proms – described by BBC News as the “indisputable highlight” of last year’s spectacular event at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

There is a brand new commission on the album from Jess’ teacher and mentor, acclaimed saxophonist John Harle, who also produced the recording. He has written a new piece for Jess called ‘RANT!’ which is based on traditional folk tunes from her home county, Cumbria. John says: “‘RANT!’ is a portrait of Jess Gillam – her energy, her sound and her presence, painted in music from her own part of England. A ‘rant’ in the tradition of English Folk music is an energetic dance, and means ‘to make merry’, which is exactly what Jess does, both in her fearless live performances and in the exuberance she has brought to the recording studio for this album. Jess is a completely unique phenomenon on the music scene, and ‘RANT!’ is an endeavour to try to capture some of her power, panache and pizzazz at this very early stage of what will surely be a glittering career.”

‘Rise’ also features virtuosic encores and popular classical works, such a saxophone version of Marcello’s Adagio from his well-known oboe concerto, Wiedoeft’s charming Valse vanité and a new arrangement of Shostakovich’s Waltz No.2 from his second jazz suite – as featured in Stanley Kubrick’s 1999 film Eyes Wide Shut. Plus there are two popular songs: the traditional Russian folk tune ‘Dark Eyes’ in a new version by John Harle; and Kurt Weill’s impassioned Je ne t’aime pas.

Hailing from Ulverston in Cumbria, Jess Gillam is blazing a trail in the music world with her outstanding talent and infectious personality. She is the first saxophone player to sign an exclusive recording deal with Decca Classics and has already released a series of digital singles on the label.

Jess 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. She made her BBC Proms debut at the Royal Albert Hall in 2017 and returned the following year as part of the BBC Young Musician 40th Anniversary Prom. She also performed at Proms in the Park in Hyde Park before dashing across to the Royal Albert Hall to perform in the Last Night of the Proms.

Jess’ concert career continues to go from strength to strength. She started 2019 by making her US debut in Washington DC and was also named one of WQXR’s ‘19 for 19’ Artists to Watch, playing at the launch event in New York. Her international dates include performances with Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra (Sweden), L’Auditori Barcelona (Spain), Argovia Philharmonic (Switzerland), Tampere Philharmonic (Finland) and the Lucerne Festival. She also appears extensively in recital throughout the UK and performs with orchestras including the BBC Philharmonic, BBC Concert Orchestra, Royal Northern Sinfonia and Manchester Camerata. She 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 continues to be mentored by internationally-renowned saxophonist and producer John Harle.

Jess talks eloquently about music and has already made a number of high profile media appearances in the UK. She contributes to programming and presenting on TV and radio, and hosts the BBC Young Musician podcast alongside bassist Sam Becker and pianist Zeynep Özsuca. She also featured in a TV documentary celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the BBC Young Musician competition. Throughout the 2018 Proms season, Jess appeared in a weekly slot on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme alongside broadcaster James Naughtie, and she has presented an episode of Saturday Classics on BBC Radio 3.

A free spirit in style and character, Jess Gillam is constantly seeking new opportunities for the saxophone and is always pushing musical boundaries. With her debut album ‘Rise’, there looks to be no stopping this bright and adventurous young musician as she reaches the latest milestone in her flourishing career.

Jess Gillam, saxophone
Milos Karadaglic, guitar
BBC Concert Orchestra
Richard Balcombe, conductor

Jess Gillam
The 2017/18 season ended on a high for Jess Gillam who closed the 2018 BBC Proms in great style with three appearances in the world famous ​‘Last Night of the Proms’ – performing as part of Radio 2’s ​‘Proms in the Park’ before heading across to the Royal Albert Hall to join the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Sir Andrew Davis for Milhaud’s Scaramouche, and a duet with star baritone Gerald Finley. This was Jess’s fourth appearance at the Festival following two performances in 2017 and a cameo at the 2018 BBC Young Musician Prom celebrating 40 years of the competition, which brought her into the limelight back in 2016.

In June 2018 Jess made her international debut with the Gothenburg Symphony and Santtu-Matias Rouvali, and her international appearances build rapidly this season including concerts with the Tampere Philharmonic, at l’Auditori Barcelona, a Swiss debut opening the season at the Argovia Philharmonic, and her US debut recital at the acclaimed Philip’s Collection series in Washington D.C. Jess was named one of WQXR’s ​‘19 for 19’ Artists to Watch, playing at the launch event in New York. She also appears extensively in recital throughout the UK and performs with orchestras including the BBC Philharmonic (Ben Gernon), BBC Concert Orchestra (Bramwell Tovey), Royal Northern Sinfonia (Jessica Cottis) and Manchester Camerata.

Jess records exclusively for Decca Classics and will release her first album ​“RISE” on 26 April, which features a selection of her favourite pieces ranging from Marcello and Shostakovich to David Bowie and Kate Bush. Her first three singles were published throughout the season: Milhaud: Scaramouche Suite - 3. Brazileira; Iturralde: Pequeña Czarda and Nyman: The Diary of Anne Frank – If.

Jess programmes and presents shows on TV and radio — being the youngest BBC presenter ever, she will launch her own Radio 3 Show called ​‘This Classical Life’ in April 2019 and continues to host the BBC Young Musician podcast with Sam Becker and Zeynep Özsuca. In February 2019 she performed at the British Academy for Television Awards (BAFTA’s) at the Royal Albert Hall, wowing A-Listers and Royalty as well as millions of viewers. She also recently featured in a documentary celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the BBC Young Musician Competition. Throughout the 2018 Proms season Jess appeared in a weekly slot on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme alongside veteran broadcaster James Naughtie, and she has presented an episode of Saturday Classics on BBC Radio 3.

She was the recipient of a Classic Brit Award in the Sound of Classical Poll 2018 which promotes the best emerging artists and ones-to-watch in classical music. As well as being a Vandoren UK Artist, at just 13 she became the youngest ever endorsee for Yanagisawa Saxophones and she is also a patron for Awards for Young Musicians. Jess also promotes her own series of concerts, bringing international talent to her hometown of Ulverston.

Jess studies at the Royal Northern College of Music with an ABRSM Scholarship, and is mentored by John Harle. She is very grateful for the support she has received from the Young Classical Artists Trust.

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