Jayson Gillham

Photo by Andy Holdsworth

Meet Jayson Gillham, pianist

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Rachmaninov’s second piano concerto, ‘the Rach 2’, is one of the most widely performed and loved works in the repertoire and I absolutely adore this piece. To play it in the Sidney Myer Music Bowl with the MSO is one of the highlights of my year! It is so exciting to be part of these fun outdoor events that attract huge diverse crowds of all ages. Classical music is for everyone and it is important not to take it too seriously.

The last time I played the Rach 2 was with the London Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall. We followed the concert performance with a screening of the Noel Coward film ‘Brief Encounter’ with live orchestral accompaniment. The film score is virtually exclusively taken from the Rach 2. It was such a fun experience and I’d love to recreate it in Australia as I think the audiences here would love to discover (and for many people rediscover) this beautiful film.

When I’m not playing music I like to follow Australian and British politics. I have dipped my toes in and joined a party and been to meetings, canvassing and a couple of events. I’d be interested in finding a way to bring together this interest with my music to become a sort of musical ambassador for human rights, peace and helping those less fortunate. In this way I look up to musicians such as Daniel Barenboim and Maria Joao Pires who are leading the way for other musicians to do the same.

I have always loved playing the piano so it was an easy choice for me as I was fortunately able to play it quite well. As a teenager I loved science and maths, and I briefly entertained the idea of pursuing something in physics or environmental science. I am constantly in awe of my parents who never fail to inspire me in their unwavering trust, support and love.

In April I will be returning to make a recording of Rachmaninov 2 and Medtner’s First Piano Concerto with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and Associate Conductor Benjamin Northey for ABC Classics. Stay tuned!

See Jayson perform Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No.2 this Wednesday 8 February at the first Sidney Myer Free Concert.