King Edward's School BATH

2016 BBC Young Musician of the Year finalist, Jess Gillam visits KES

2016 BBC Young Musician of the Year finalist, Jess Gillam visits KES

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20 April 2018

2016 BBC Young Musician of the Year finalist, saxophonist, Jess Gillam visited King Edward’s School on Wednesday and Friday of this week to undertake a series of workshops and masterclasses with KES musicians and orchestras from local Bath Schools. 

During her visit to KES, Jess worked with Bath Philharmonia to co-host workshops with two local school orchestras, from St Keyna and Roundhill Primary Schools, ahead of undertaking a further workshop and masterclass with KES musicians.  The workshops with St Keyna and Roundhill Primary Schools were organised by Bath Philharmonia, as part of the orchestra’s commitment to making orchestral music accessible to all, with King Edward’s supporting the initiative by hosting the day’s events.

On the same day as the primary school workshops, the KES Senior Orchestra played alongside Jess and Bath Philharmonia to create their own musical composition inspired by a piece by Gavin Bryars, entitled, ‘The Green Ray’.  Two days later an additional session saw Jess lead four solo performance masterclasses with KES saxophonists, where she provided both technical and performance advice to the gathered audience of KES musicians.  Jess finished her visit by working with the KES Saxophone Ensemble. In between the two school-based events, King Edward's was also proud to be the lead sponsor for Jess and Bath Philharmonia’s concert together in the Assembly Rooms on Thursday evening. 

A rising star in the classical music world, Jess has performed at the Proms and played alongside the likes of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Jools Holland’s Rhythm and Blues Orchestra.  Following her success at the BBC Young Musician of the Year competition, Jess has recently been nominated for a Classic Brit Award and continues to study at the Royal Northern College of Music with an ABRSM Scholarship.

Jess’ masterclass and orchestral workshop with KES musicians forms part of the School’s partnership programme with Bath Philharmonia, which is now in its fifth year and features a year-long programme of workshops, performances, mentoring opportunities and masterclasses, with one of the undoubted highlights being the joint Bath Orchestral Gala Concert, where KES Senior musicians and vocalists play alongside Bath Philharmonia’s professional musicians amidst the glittering surroundings of the Guildhall or Assembly Rooms.

Commenting on Jess’s visit to KES, Director of Music, Mr Rupert Drury said: “We were thrilled to welcome Jess to school and she's been hugely inspiring to our young musicians.  Jess is the third BBC Young Musician finalist to visit the School in recent times and opportunities such as these do much to develop, encourage and inspire a life-long love of music.”

Commenting on the workshops undertaken by Jess and Bath Philharmonia with the three local schools, Jason Thornton, Music Director of Bath Philharmonia, said: “ Bath Philharmonia is committed to and passionate about making orchestral music accessible to everyone.  We are the only professional orchestra in the country providing music projects for Young Carers and we endeavour to bring live music and creative learning to as many local schools as possible. I am delighted that King Edward’s School is a really valued partner in this process.”

  • In setting up the orchestral workshops, Bath Philharmonia is supported by Resonate, a PRS Foundation initiative in partnership with Association of British Orchestras, BBC Radio 3 and Boltini Trust.

About Jess Gillam

 In 2016, at the age of 17, Jess made history as the first saxophonist to win the Woodwind Final of BBC Young Musician of the Year. She then reached the Grand Final at London’s Barbican Hall, and performed Michael Nyman’s Where the Bee Dances with the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Mark Wigglesworth to widespread critical acclaim.

 In summer 2017, Jess made her BBC Proms debut at the Royal Albert Hall, where she performed as a soloist with both the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Jessica Cottis and the BBC Concert Orchestra conducted by Keith Lockhart.

Concerto highlights include appearances with Southbank Sinfonia, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, and a showcase performance with the Manchester Camerata as well as a concert with Sinfonia Cymru and Gábor Takács-Nagy. She frequently gives recitals throughout the UK. Last year, Jess gave the premiere of a piece written for her by Jeremy Holland-Smith on BBC Four’s Choir of the Year, and has made a guest appearance with Jools Holland and his R&B Orchestra.

 Jess studies at the Royal Northern College of Music with an ABRSM Scholarship, and is mentored by John Harle. She has appeared on BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio 4 (Woman’s Hour), BBC Radio 2, BBC 6 Music and BBC Radio Cumbria, who have made a programme about her. Jess has recently been nominated for a Classic Brit Award.

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