Friday, January 17, 2020

'This Classical Life'

17 January 2020

I first encountered the brilliant young saxophonist Jess Gillam (who comes from Ulverston in Cumbria) through the 2016 BBC Young Musician competition (reviewed here in May 2016). In 2017 I was lucky enough to play in two concerts with Jess with the Northampton Symphony Orchestra (reviewed here in March and July 2017). As well as developing into an outstanding musician Jess Gillam is proving herself to be a consummate broadcaster: in 2018 she presented the BBC Young Musician podcast (reviewed here in April 2018). And now I have (slightly belatedly) discovered her wonderful BBC Radio 3 programme and podcast ‘This Classical Life’. Each week Jess welcomes a different guest – usually another young professional musician – and they take turns to share pieces of music with each other. The music is mostly classical, with some jazz and pop. In the manner of BBC Radio 4’s ‘A Good Read’ they politely comment on each other’s choices – only occasionally admitting that they really don’t like something the other person has chosen. Jess is a very natural interviewer and is very good at teasing out what it is about each piece of music that makes it enticing. Her approach is very accessible and unpretentious. The show is great fun in itself but it has also sent me to listen to loads of great music I was previously unaware of. Each weekly episode is less than half an hour, and there is now a back catalogue of 32 episodes to catch up with. Subscribe to ‘This Classical Life’ wherever you get your podcasts or find it on BBC Radio 3, on BBC Sounds or at:

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