The first line of Jess Gillam's biography reads: "Hailing from Ulverston in Cumbria, Jess Gillam is animating the music world with her outstanding talent and infectious personality". How accurate and spot on this description is! Many of us have watched Jess interview the competitors of the BBC Young Musician of the Year and heard her play on the TV and radio, but the live setting last Sunday presented her true magnetic nature, literally 'infectious' personality, the enthusiasm to share her music with the audience, no hesitation to give everything to connect, bursting stamina and energy to keep going, all on top of her apparently outstanding talent and ability.
Equality enthusiastic were Sam Becker on double bass and Zeynep Ozsuca on piano, who collaborated with Jess effortlessly and tactfully in the most natural way. Their hand-picked programme varied from the beautiful baroque Concerto by Marcello to the fast and upbeat Pequena Czarda by Pedro Iturralde, and absolutely stunning solo saxophone pieces by Meredith Monk and Philip Glass, with which Jess' warm sound was unbeatable. We heard their impeccable collaboration with Piazzolla's Histoire du Tango to finish the concert, and with this, we were left with an ever-lasting memory and feeling how exciting the live music was.
To precede the main performance was a piano-violin-viola trio from the Purcell School of Music. Despite their young age, there was an abundant dialogue between the performers, and their refreshing account of Scharwenka's Piano Trio was well received by the audience.