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31 MARCH 2020 (TORONTO, ON) - Today Classic BRIT award-winning saxophonist Jess Gillam launches the Jess Gillam Virtual Scratch Orchestra. She is inviting musicians of any standard to come together and play music virtually with her, giving the first performance online on Friday 17 April.


Jess Gillam said: ‘For me, music is all about people! People uniting, people sharing and people listening. At a very difficult time, when it is not currently possible to be physically together to share and make music, hopefully this is a way in which we can create something together from afar. ‘Where Are We Now?’ is one of my favourite songs by David Bowie. It’s hauntingly beautiful and seems very appropriate as we all reflect on the world and what is happening around us. This is the first song he released after a long period of silence in 2013.’


The Jess Gillam Virtual Scratch Orchestra will come together for the first time to perform David Bowie’s Where Are We Now? from Gillam’s debut album RISE (Decca Classics) which shot to No.1 in the Official UK Classical Chart in April 2019. Taking part is easy:

  • Take a look at the parts available and download the music from her website. The instruments are not prescriptive, find a part that works for you and participate
  • Video yourself playing your part either playing along to the click track or the released version. Submissions can be recorded on a smartphone or video recorder but please use headphones so only you can be heard
  • Send the video to a line saying ‘I give Universal Music Group permission to use this video.’ The deadline is Friday 10 April at 6pm
  • Sign up to the mailing list to make sure you see the final results


Gillam will then perform the piece live with the combined pre-recorded videos on Friday 17 April at 6pm on her Instagram (@jessgillamsax).


Parts available to download:

  • Violin 1 & 2
  • Viola
  • Cello
  • Double Bass
  • Oboe 1 & 2
  • Horn in F 1, 2, 3 & 4
  • Harp
  • Piano
  • Celeste/keyboard
  • Timpani


Parts & click track available here

Released version of Where We Are Now:



About Jess Gillam

Hailing from Ulverston in Cumbria, Jess Gillam is animating the music world with her outstanding talent and infectious personality. After performing at the prestigious Last Night of the Proms in 2018 and having her performance described as “the indisputable highlight” by BBC News, Gillam continues to grow her international career. This season, she will perform at the Last Night of the BBC Proms Japan, with the Minnesota Orchestra, at the Lucerne Festival, with Deutsches Symphony Orchester Berlin, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France and Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. She also continues to perform throughout the UK in recital as well as with the Hallé, Manchester Camerata and the European Union Chamber Orchestra.


Gillam is the first ever saxophonist to be signed to Decca Classics and recently released her debut album “Rise”, which shot to No.1 in the Official UK Classical Charts. Featuring a selection of her favourite pieces ranging from Marcello and Shostakovich to David Bowie and Kate Bush, it was highly celebrated and received rave reviews.


She is also a presenter on TV and Radio. She became the youngest ever presenter for BBC Radio 3 and hosts her own weekly show and podcast called “This Classical Life” where she chats to musical guests to swap tracks and share the music they love. The show has been very well received by audiences and critics alike, with The Guardian stating “there are many more established presenters who lack Gillam’s warmth and impressive ability”. She also presented five BBC Proms live on television alongside Katie Derham and Tom Service.


She has been the recipient of a Classic BRIT Award (in the Sound of Classical Poll), was the first ever saxophonist to reach the final of BBC Young Musician of the Year, and in 2019, performed live at the BAFTAs (British Academy of Film and Television Awards) to millions of viewers at home.


A free spirit in style and character, Gillam is a passionate advocate for the power of music in society, often combining her concert engagements with educational and social projects. She is a patron for Awards for Young Musicians and a trustee for the newly formed HarrisonParrott Foundation, working towards full inclusivity of all ethnicities, genders, disabilities and social backgrounds with equal access to the arts.


She studies with acclaimed saxophonist and composer John Harle. She is a Vandoren UK Artist and became the youngest ever endorsee for Yanagisawa Saxophones aged just 13. She is a lover of live music and continues to promote her own concert series, bringing international talent to her hometown of Ulverston.


Media praise for Gillam:

“Gillam...spreads joy” The Times


“Gillam is the real thing, deserving serious attention” Artsdesk