Winner Jess brings her ‘joyful sax’ to orchestra

Woodwind category winner Jess Gillam
Woodwind category winner Jess Gillam

Scarborough Symphony Orchestra features a star in the making as its guest soloist next month with BBC Young Musician finalist Jess Gillam and her infectiously joyful brand of sax playing.

Eighteen-year-old Cumbrian Jess performs with the orchestra after wowing audiences with her stage presence and masterful playing when winning the woodwind category and reaching the overall final of the 2016 BBC young musician contest.

Her talents were earlier recognised by Ampleforth-based music shop June Emerson Wind Music as one of two young artists they support.

“We have seen her career blossom over the past few years and she is an amazing performer with a personality to match both on and off stage,” said Rachel Emerson. “Jess really is one to watch.”

She will be playing David Heath’s 1995 expressive and exciting concerto The Celtic, opening with a first movement that captures the atmosphere of a ceilidh getting wilder and wilder as everyone is carried away by the excitement.

The concerto’s slow movement expresses the feelings of the composer after he left his then home in Fife and the final movement is based on an old version of a popular Fife song.

The orchestra continues to perform more modern works like The Celtic but will also give the audience its share of familiar pieces.

The programme includes Beethoven’s second and one of his most joyous symphonies, despite being written at the time when his incurable deafness was becoming apparent.

Haydn’s triumphant London Symphony (No. 104) is also another firm audience favourite.

“I am delighted that we are now attracting a large audience both young and old, who come incredible distances to hear us.

“People at our last concert travelled from as far afield as Manchester and Hull, so we can truly say that the Scarborough Symphony Orchestra has followers from across the country,” said conductor Shaun Matthew.

The concert is on Saturday February 11 at 7.15pm at the Queen Street Methodist Hall in Scarborough. Admission is £11 (£9.50 for concessions). Entry for children up to 16 and full-time students is free. Tickets can be purchased direct from Scarborough Music until January 31 or the Art Cafe in Whitby as well as through the orchestra’s website or at the door on the night.