Rhinegold Photo credit: Rob Whitrow

Melissa Bradshaw

Jess Gillam becomes youngest saxophonist ever to hit the classical charts top spot

9:01, 7th May 2019

On Friday 3 May, Jess Gillam’s critically-acclaimed album RISE reached the top of the Official UK Classical Chart making her the youngest saxophonist ever to hit the No.1 spot.

The album, released on 26 April on Decca Classics, showcases Gillam’s talent and diverse musical taste with tracks ranging from John Williams and Shostakovich to David Bowie and Kate Bush.

On hearing of her chart success, Gillam said: ‘If someone had told me – when I first picked up a saxophone in the Barracudas Carnival Band in Barrow-on-Furness – that I would get a classical number one for my first album release, I wouldn’t have believed them in a million years! It has been so exciting to record my debut with the team at Decca Classics, and special thanks to the producer John Harle, BBC Concert Orchestra and Milos for being a part of ‘RISE’.

‘Music has been such an important part of my life and the tracks included on the album are very personal to me, so it’s overwhelming that there has been such an amazing response to it so far.’

This triumphant chart news comes at the end of a busy month for Gillam. In release week, she gave one-to-one sessions and workshops with young musicians up and down the country who are recipients of funding and support from Awards for Young Musicians (AYM), and will continue to work with schools and young people nationwide throughout the year alongside her busy performance schedule. She also launched her new BBC Radio 3 series ‘This Classical Life’ in April as the youngest presenter in the history of the station.


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