Ulverston saxaphone player Jess Gillam through to finals of BBC Young Musician of the Year competition

The Westmorland Gazette: Jess Gillam Jess Gillam

A TALENTED teenage saxophonist from Furness has reached the final of the BBC Young Musician of the Year.

Jess Gillam, 15, from Ulverston, has become one of five finalists in the prestigious competition that will be aired on BBC 4 and BBC 2 in April.

Competition manager Kerry Clark said “The category finalists show a remarkable level and breadth of talent. We're looking forward to working with these outstanding young musicians.”

Jess is also set to play with music legend Jools Holland and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra in Summer this year in Carlisle.

She was awarded a scholarship from Award for Young Musicians, a music charity based in London, as ‘the best young musician in the North West’. The Awards for Young Musicians have supported Jess greatly in her music studies, as have the Junior Royal Northern College of Music, where she studies saxophone and piano.

Later in the year, Jess will return to perform a concerto with the Ealing Symphony Orchestra in London. Other guests this year include clarinettist Emma Johnson and violinist Nicola Benedetti - both of whom are internationally renowned classical musicians and past BBC Young Musician of the Year winners.

Jess became the youngest ever endorsee for Yanagisawa saxophones, one of the finest saxophone manufacturers in the world, when she was aged 13. She runs her own concert series in Ulverston and the line up this year includes Snake Davis, the most prolific session saxophonist of the last 25 years and Courtney Pine, Britain's most famous saxophone player.

After the raging success of his gig last year, Snake Davis returns to Ulverston with his eight piece soul band, ‘The Suspicions’, for a night of Northern Soul, Atlanta and Motown Classics. Snake has performed and recorded with the likes of Amy Winehouse, Take That, Eurythmics, Kylie, James Brown and Ray Charles.

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He will perform at the Coronation Hall on Saturday March 1 at 7.30 pm.

This will be Snake's fourth visit to Ulverston and he will be joined on stage by Jess, who first appeared with Snake when she was 12 years old and has been described by him as "one of the best young saxophonists in the UK".

Courtney Pine, Britain's most famous saxophonist, will also take to the stage of the Coronation Hall, bringing his new tour "House of Legends" to Ulverston on Friday May 23.

Courtney Pine has outstanding international acclaim as a jazz saxophonist - he has been at the forefront of the UK Jazz scene for the past 25 years.

In recognition of his career to date and his contribution to the black community and jazz music, Courtney was awarded an OBE in the 2000 New Year’s Honours and it was announced in the 2009 New Year’s Honours that he was to be made a CBE for services to music, which he received in 2010.

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