Welcoming Jess Gillam as our newest patron

Awards for Young Musicians are delighted to welcome Award winning saxophonist Jess Gillam, an Alumna of our Awards programme, as our newest Patron of the charity. She joins a team of star studded patrons including AYM alumnus Duncan Ward, Dame Evelyn Glennie CH DBE, Thomas Gould, Tasmin Little, Milos Karadaglic, Paul Lewis CBE, Shabaka Hutchings, Julian Lloyd Webber, Ksenija Sidorova and Sir Simon Rattle OM CBE.

Since 1998 Awards for Young Musicians has been championing young musical talent across the UK.  Via funding and bespoke support we help talented young musicians facing financial and other barriers pursue their ambition to excel in making music. To date we’ve directly worked with over 1,500 young people, with many thousands more benefiting as a result of our innovative research and advocacy work around spotting and nurturing musical potential.

AYM supported Jess from the ages of 13 to 17, helping with the cost of her Saturday studies at the Junior Royal Northern College of Music and enabling her to access a host of musical opportunities, including performing at prestigious venues on the charity’s behalf. In 2016, at the age of 17, Jess made history as the first saxophonist to win the Woodwind Final of BBC Young Musician of the Year. She then reached the Grand Final at London’s Barbican Hall, and performed Michael Nyman’s “Where the Bee Dances” with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, to widespread critical acclaim.  This year she made her BBC Proms debut at the Royal Albert Hall, where she performed as a soloist with both the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the BBC Concert Orchestra.

Since becoming an Alumna of our Awards programme at age 18, Jess has continued her connection with the charity by becoming a mentor to younger musicians on our Arts Council England-funded peer-mentoring programme, Talent to Talent; now she is our youngest patron. AYM will turn 20 in 2018, as will Jess!

Hester Cockcroft, Director of AYM says: 

We’re delighted Jess is joining us as a Patron. It’s been great to support her development as an artist, and, as an organisation focused  on giving young talent a chance Jess is the perfect role model for other young people with big musical ambitions. We look forward to working with her for many years to come.

Jess says: 

AYM gave me opportunities to perform to fantastic audiences, work with some of the best musicians in the industry and build a network of musical friends around the country. AYM’s practical support and their belief in me throughout my teenage years was invaluable and I would have struggled to get to where I am without it. Music has the power to transform lives and AYM recognise that. As an Alumna of AYM’s Awards programme I am delighted to now be giving something back by being a mentor on their Talent to Talent peer mentoring programme and in my new role as an AYM Patron.

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