About the Concert
She plays Bach and Bowie, Shostakovich and Kate Bush, and hosts her own weekly show on classical music on BBC Radio 3: Jess Gillam not only masters the saxophone with enormous virtuosity, she is a passionate ambassador for her instrument. Barbara Thompson's saxophone concerto is one of her favorites, as it is heavily inspired by jazz. Thompson composed passionately for her own instrument, the saxophone, and worked closely with Andrew Lloyd Webber on musicals such as Cats and Starlight Express, among others.
Shostakovich's opera Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, on the other hand, had a hard time. Euphorically celebrated by audiences, the work was soon banned by Stalin for flimsy reasons and disappeared into a drawer for decades. It is fortunate that it found its way back into the music world, because wit, tempo and an almost unbelievable variety of musical means make this music an experience to this day.