Star of the BAFTAs, Classical Brit Award winner and highlight of the Last Night of the Proms, 20 year-old star saxophonist Jess Gillam, is appearing alongside the St Cecilia Orchestra on April 13 in Ripon Cathedral at 7.30pm.
Described in The Sunday Times as being at the head of a new wave of youthful musicians that has emerged over the past five years, Jess, a finalist in the BBC’s 2016 Young Musician of the Year, will be playing a well-known and excellent showpiece, John Williams’ Escapades, probably one of the most difficult pieces in the repertoire.
Escapades has an equally challenging part for solo vibraphone and Jess will be joined by Graeme Law, solo vibraphone and Nic Breakspear on solo jazz double bass.
In addition, Jess Gillam will perform Darius Milhaud’s Scaramouche, which along with Escapades, she played as part of BBC Last Night of the Proms to critical acclaim.
On the afternoon of the concert, as part of the St Cecilia Orchestra’s outreach programme, Jess Gillam, a natural communicator, will be leading a masterclass for young talented saxophonists. There has been an overwhelming response from local youngsters in the area, all of whom, are excited by meeting an international star of the classical music world to receive tips and advice. They will then join the audience to hear Jess perform.
Conductor, Xen Kelsey, said: “Jess kindly agreed to lead a saxophone masterclass aimed at young people learning the instrument.
"We are extremely grateful to Jess to doing this prior to performing in the Cathedral. It is a generous gesture and a testament to talented young professionals who offer so much to aspiring musicians.
"This is the ethos behind St Cecilia Orchestra and why we attract the most talented young musicians looking for orchestral experience from across the UK. Our feeder Vacation Chamber Orchestra is part of our outreach programme and the only orchestra of its kind in the north of England offering orchestral experience to young up and coming students.”
Other pieces include: John Williams’ Star Wars Suite, Copland’s stunning Appalachian Spring, with its set of variations based on the Shaker Hymn Lord of the Dance. To end, what is undoubtedly a popular concert of key classics, Xen Kelsey has programmed the delightfully orchestrated Tahiti Trot also known as Tea for Two; a piece Shostakovich wrote in response to a bet from conductor Nikolai Malo who bet 100 roubles that it could not completely be re-orchestrated from memory in under an hour. Shostakovich took him up and won, completing the orchestration in around 45 minutes.
“My challenge to parents is this: come along to see and hear great music being played. School children are free. Experience first-hand the joys of live music making,” he said
St Cecilia Orchestra has always embraced innovative programming and was the first orchestra in the area to offer £10 tickets for those aged between 18 and 35.
Tickets available from The Little Ripon Bookshop, Westgate, Henry Roberts Books, The Arcade or online at www.st-cecilia.org.uk Adults £22 Concessions £20; 18- 35s £10 Students £5.