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BBC Radio 3 names Jess Gillam as youngest ever presenter in station shake-up

Jess Gillam will join BBC Radio 3 (Isabel Infantes/PA)
Jess Gillam will join BBC Radio 3 (Isabel Infantes/PA)

BBC Radio 3 has announced a shake-up of the station, recruiting its youngest ever presenter.

Award-winning saxophonist Jess Gillam will assume presenting duties on the music channel at just 20 years old.

The musician, who has performed at the Proms and Baftas at the Royal Albert Hall, will host the new weekly show This Classical Life.

Radio 3 confirmed Gillam as the youngest ever permanent presenter on the station, as it seeks to “connect audiences”.

It is part of a shake-up which will see a total of three new presenters hosting on the cosmopolitan channel broadcasting classical, jazz and world music.

This Classical Life will see Gillam welcome her fellow young musicians on air to select and discuss their favourite pieces each Saturday.

Gillam said: “I’m so excited to be joining BBC Radio 3 as the presenter of This Classical Life. Music is such a huge part of my life, and I can’t wait to share all my latest and greatest discoveries with fellow musicians who will be joining me on the show, as well as with listeners at home.”

Brit-award winning Gillam performed at this year’s Bafta awards ceremony during a commemorative montage of those lost in the world of film, and she is set to release her debut album this year.

Her new show will air before Radio 3’s Saturday lunchtime programme Inside Music.

Other programme changes on Radio 3 include Opera Fix, a four-part Classical Fix special on Sunday evenings presented by incoming host and soprano Danielle de Niese.

Young guitarist Sean Shibe will present a six-part special Guitar Zone, and harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani will take on presenting duties for the upcoming three-part series The Alternative Bach.

Alan Davey, controller at BBC Radio 3, said: “I am of the belief that classical music doesn’t sit in isolation, and I know that audiences are ceasing to distinguish it from other genres.

“I’m keen, therefore, that our schedule acknowledges that as part of our distinct offer which aims to connect audiences with remarkable music and arts.

“From Jess Gillam’s discussions with young performers of their musical influences, premieres and new takes on established works such as Mahan’s revisionist history of Bach, or Sean Shibe’s look at the guitar, there’s something for everyone on BBC Radio 3.”

The first episode of This Classical Life will air on Saturday April 6.

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