Saxophonist and presenter Jess Gillam has been awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list 2021 for Services to Music.
“I feel extremely touched to receive this award”
Jess Gillam said, “I feel extremely touched to receive this award, especially in a year where so many people have done such incredible and selfless things. It’s very unexpected and a complete surprise – I’m very grateful to all of those who have supported me and to have had the opportunity to learn an instrument in the first place. Music has changed my life and I‘m passionate about sharing its magic with other people!”
Jess is passionate about inspiring people through music and has continued to do so throughout the coronavirus pandemic. In May 2020 Jess was featured as a special guest at the Royal Albert Hall’s VE Day 75 Commemoration and in July she returned for a performance as part of the Royal Albert Home series. During the lockdown Jess Gillam launched her Virtual Scratch Orchestra and invited musicians of any standard to play music virtually with her. Over 2,000 people, aged 2-94, took part from around 30 different countries.
Jess Gillam is the first ever saxophonist to be signed to Decca Classics
Jess Gillam is the first ever saxophonist to be signed to Decca Classics and she recently released her second album, TIME, which topped the Official UK Classical Charts, as did her debut album RISE. TIME mirrors the arc of energy in a passing day and the constant orbit of our existence. The album includes music by Nyman, Björk, Brian Eno, Anna Meredith and Thom Yorke, as well as two new commissions from Luke Howard and Will Gregory. Jess will perform music from TIME on her tour across England from 26 June – 25 August.
Jess Gillam has won a Classic BRIT Award and she was the first ever saxophonist to reach the final of BBC Young Musician of the Year. Her performance at the Last Night of the Proms in 2018 was described as “the indisputable highlight” by BBC News and in 2019 she performed live at the BAFTAs to millions of viewers at home.
She will celebrate her ARIA-winning weekly BBC Radio 3 show and podcast, This Classical Life with the BBC Concert Orchestra and special guests, live at the Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall on 7 July at 7.30pm. This Classical Life: Live will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on 14 July at 7.30pm.
Jess Gillam is a passionate advocate for the power of music in society, often combining her concert engagements with educational and social projects, and she is also a patron for Awards for Young Musicians.
Jess Gillam’s album TIME can be bought here.