Child prodigy from the Queensland outback, Jayson Gillham is known internationally for his compelling and elegant performances. Returning to Melbourne to make his Hamer Hall debut in Beethoven and Brahms, Jayson talks about how music has impacted his life and shares one thing Melbourne audiences need to know about him!
Welcome back to Melbourne! How does it feel to be back?
Playing in Melbourne with the MSO is like coming home for me. I have so many friends in the orchestra, especially after last year performing at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl, the Town Hall and recording a CD with them. This time, however, will be my Hamer Hall debut which I am so very excited about! I’m also very pleased to meet and work with Joshua Weilerstein. I’m eager to find out his approach to the Beethoven piece.
Do you perform Beethoven’s third piano concerto very often?
Actually I played the work in London with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Alexander Shelley. And then the last time was a few years ago with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra under the late, great Sir Jeffery Tate. Both of these performances were so different, and I’m growing with the piece each time I perform it.
The chance to play it three times in succession with the MSO is a dream because it gives myself (and my peers) the chance to dare to do something different each night! It’s very exciting.
Do you think you were you always destined for a life of music?
I’ve never known a time where music wasn’t a central figure in my life. At various times I’ve wondered if I should pursue something else as a profession but those thoughts have never lasted very long. I couldn’t live without music in some capacity.
What’s your favourite thing to do off stage?
More and more I like quiet time, simple pleasures and small luxuries. For instance today I found great satisfaction in taking a long hot shower. I enjoy practising Feldenkrais, a method of somatic education (awareness through movement). It’s almost meditative and puts me in a very good place physically and mentally for my daily piano practice.
And finally, what’s one thing you want Melbourne audiences to know about you?
They shouldn’t be shy to come and say hello to me after the performance!