12th February: Jess Gillam pens Guardian letter, China International Music Competition announces 22 competitors, Steven Sloane appointed Music Director of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra

Tuesday 12th February 2019

‘Music is absolutely essential to our existence’: saxophonist Jess Gillam

Jess Gillam is one of the most exciting young musicians of today. Last year she became the first ever saxophonist to sign a record deal with Decca, and on the 10th December she performed at the Baftas.

Yesterday she published a letter in The Guardian explaining why music is “essential to our existence”.

Following her BAFTAs performance, she has also announced the release of her debut album ‘Rise’, out 26 April on Decca Classics.

The album is a collection of pieces which showcase her talent and musical taste, ranging from Marcello and Shostakovich to David Bowie and Kate Bush. Reflecting her musical journey and the pieces that have inspired her in her career, the album features cover versions of Kate Bush’s ‘This Woman’s Work’ and David Bowie’s ‘Where Are We Now?’ as well as familiar hits from the world of film, such as ‘Closing In’ by John Williams (as featured in Steven Spielberg’s 2002 film Catch Me If You Can).

Alongside signature pieces and classical works, ‘Rise’ features a brand new commission from Gillam’s teacher and mentor, acclaimed saxophonist John Harle, who also produced the recording. His new piece for Jess, ‘RANT!’, is based on traditional folk tunes from her home county, Cumbria, and he describes it as ‘a portrait of Jess Gillam – her energy, her sound and her presence, painted in music from her own part of England.’

China International Music Competition announces 22 competitors

The first China International Music Competition has announced the 22 pianists who will participate in Beijing from 4-21 May 2019.

All 22 will perform a recital in the preliminary round of the competition. The jury will then select 12 to advance to the semi-final. In the first phase of the final, six will perform a classical concerto with the China Academia Orchestra, and then three will be chosen to play a final round concert at Beijing’s National Centre for Performing Arts with the Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin.

The winner will receive a prize of US$150,000; second will receive $75,000, and third $30,000. In addition, the winner will gain representation by Opus 3 Artists in the US and Armstrong Music and Arts in China.

Steven Sloane wird Chefdirigent des Jerusalem Symphony

Der Dirigent Steven Sloane (60) wird neuer Musikdirektor des Jerusalem Symphony Orchetra (JSO). Der US-Amerikaner tritt zum Beginn der Saison 2020/21 einen Drei-Jahres-Vertrag mit Option auf Verlängerung an, wie der Geschäftsführer des Orchesters, Yair Stern, am Montag mitteilte. Bereits ab September 2019 wirke Sloane als designierter Musikdirektor.

“Wir glauben, dass Sloanes umfangreiche Erfahrung für das Orchester gewinnbringend sein wird und dass er die Erfolge seines Vorgängers, Maestro Frederic Chaslin, der gerade seine fruchtbare achtjährige Amtszeit vollendet, fortsetzt”, erklärte Stern.

Der in Los Angeles geborene Sloane leitet seit 1994 die Bochumer Symphoniker. Diesen Posten gibt er zum Ende der Saison 2020/21 ab. Seit September 2018 ist er Erster Gastdirigent und Künstlerischer Berater an der Oper Malmö.

Conductor Steven Sloane is to become the new music director of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchetra (JSO). The American will enter the 2020/21 season with a three-year contract, announced on Monday by the orchestra’s executive director, Yair Stern. As early as September 2019, Sloane will begin working as designated music director.

“We believe that Sloane’s extensive experience in the orchestra will be beneficial and that he will continue the successes of his predecessor, Maestro Frederic Chaslin, who is now completing his fruitful eight-year term,” said Stern.