Jayson Gillham


Beethoven: Sonata No. 28 in A, Op. 101
Ligeti: Three Etudes
Wagner/Liszt: Isolde’s Liebestod
Verdi/Liszt: Rigoletto Paraphrase
Schumann: Symphonic Etudes, Op. 13

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Australian-British pianist Jayson Gillham, from rural Queensland, has been based in London since 2007. While completing his Master’s degree at the Royal Academy of Music (RAM) in 2007-09, he won the Bach, Beethoven, Romantic and 20th Century piano prizes, and as the RAM’s elected representative, he went on to win first prize at the Beethoven Piano Society of Europe’s Intercollegiate Piano Competition. At his graduation Jayson was awarded the DipRAM for an outstanding final recital; the report from the panel reads: “The rare occasion when the word ‘phenomenal’ is appropriate […] Perhaps the finest final recital we can remember.”

In October 2010 Jayson was a semi-finalist in the renowned Chopin International Piano Competition in Warsaw. Out of an initial 350 applicants, he reached the final twenty and is the first Australian ever to advance so far in this competition. Author and competition critic Michael Moran remarked on Jayson’s playing in Warsaw: “The Australian Jayson Gillham I felt brought some much needed authentic Chopin expression into what was partly a day of the demonstration of technical prowess rather than the creation of ‘music’ […] Marvellous ‘laid back’ approach to playing Chopin and a deep natural musicality. How refreshing […] A formidable technique and deep interpretative insight […] Reminded me at various moments so much of the moderation and taste of Artur Rubinstein – qualities in very short supply during this competition.”

Other successes include: Winner – Royal Over-Seas League Competition (London, 2012); First prize – Brant International Piano Competition (Birmingham, 2011); First prize – Prix d’AmadeO de Piano (Aachen, 2008); First prize – Australian National Piano Award (Shepparton, 2008); and Third prize – London International Piano Competition (2005).

Jayson has performed in many London venues, including the Royal Festival Hall (soloist with the London Philharmonic Orchestra), Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room, Wigmore Hall, St. Martin-in-the-Fields and Kings Place. As a member of the Countess of Munster Trust’s “Recital Scheme”, he has delighted audiences in venues throughout the length and breadth of the UK. His relationship with the Keyboard Charitable Trust has taken him further afield, with performances in New York (Steinway Hall), Virginia (USA), Hamburg, Frankfurt, Verona, Vicenza, Padua and the Scottish North Highlands.

In 2011 Jayson was invited to perform in China, where he played two Mozart concertos with the Wuhan Philharmonic Orchestra. On his return to the UK, he played at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and he has recently appeared as guest artist at the Brighton Festival, Linari Classic Festival (Tuscany), and the Deià International Music Festival (Majorca).

Jayson performs regularly in Australia, returning each year for recital, concerto, chamber music and festival work. He has appeared as soloist with the Sydney Sinfonia, Southbank Sinfonia (Melbourne), Queensland Symphony Orchestra, West Australian Symphony Orchestra, Willoughby Symphony and Queensland Youth Symphony. He is a regular artist at the Tyalgum and Bangalow Music Festivals in northern New South Wales.

In 2012 Jayson tours in South-East Asia and Europe with the Queensland Youth Symphony, playing Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto. This follows recitals and radio broadcasts in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Other upcoming performance highlights include recitals in Bonn and at the Louvre Auditorium (Paris), and a concerto with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.

Jayson currently lives in the King’s Cross neighbourhood in London, where he volunteers weekly as a maths tutor at Argyle primary school – an initiative he set up with other post-graduates and young professionals living in the area. He is also the Cultural Ambassador of the Hearts for Africa (Amani) Foundation, an NGO which empowers local people to overcome poverty in rural central Tanzania.