This Classical Life


Jess Gillam hosts the music show for people who like classical and other stuff too. Music, eclectic playlists and chat, with a new guest every week.


United Kingdom




Jess Gillam hosts the music show for people who like classical and other stuff too. Music, eclectic playlists and chat, with a new guest every week.




This Classical Life: Jess Gillam with... Bishi

Jess Gillam and singer and composer Bishi swap their favourite music.


Jess Gillam with... Ionel Manciu

Jess is joined by violinist Ionel Manciu to chat about some of their favourite records and share their lives in music. Including a revelation of Ionel's past life as a Moldovan pop star, John Adams conjuring raindrops from the piano, a classic by Amy Winehouse and a piece by Arno Babadjanian that stopped Jess in her tracks. Playlist: GEORGY SVIRIDOV: The Bells of Dawn [Dmitri Hvorostovsky (baritone), The Grand Choir ‘Masters of Choral Singing’/Lev Kontorovich (cond)] AMY WINEHOUSE: Love is a...


Jess Gillam with... Iyad Sughayer

Jess is joined this week by the Jordanian-Palestinian pianist Iyad Sughayer. They're in the studio to share some of their favourite tracks with each other, and some new musical discoveries - including a joyful piano concerto by Haydn, terrifying music by Bartok, a mesmerising song by Caroline Shaw and classic Bob Dylan. Playlist: Joseph Haydn - Piano Concerto in D major, Hob. XVIII:11 (Alexandre Tharaud, Violons du Roy) David Bowie & Gail Ann Dorsey - Under Pressure (from the album A Reality...


Jess Gillam with... C Duncan

Jess Gillam and Scottish composer C Duncan share the tracks they love, with music by Charles Ives, Broadcast, Lili Boulanger Messiaen and Mahler. Playlist: Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach - Symphony in E-flat Major Wq. 179 - 1. Prestissimo [Akademie für Alte Ausik Berlin] Broadcast - Colour Me In Lili Boulanger - D’Un Jardin Clair [Émile Naoumoff - piano] Charles Ives - 3 Places in New England - The Housatonic at Stockbridge [Aurora Orchestra, Nicholas Collon] Harry Nilsson - Everybody’s Talkin...


Jess Gillam with... Ellie Consta

Jess Gillam is joined by violinist Ellie Consta to share some of the music they love the most. Ellie is the founder of Her Ensemble which champions the work of female composers and strives to present classical music in new diverse ways, and her music choices reflect that - from Florence Price's dreamy Clouds to Little Simz Mercury-winning homage to women everywhere, Woman. Jess brings along the majesty of Mozart's Requiem, some lunar insanity on the theremin and a cracker of a song by Bettye...


Jess Gillam with... Anna Lapwood

Jess brings out the fizz and party poppers for a New Year's Eve listening party with the organist and conductor Anna Lapwood, as they introduce each other to their favourite music for this time of year. Their choices take them through the night, from classic Ella Fitzgerald, to pumping base from Vivaldi and Bonobo, reflective choral music by Silvestrov, mysterious organ sounds for the early hours from Saint-Saens, and a New Year message from Otis Redding. Playlist: Ella Fitzgerald - What Are...


Jess Gillam with... Love Ssega

Jess meets up with Love Ssega to swap some of their favourite music. A founding songwriter and vocalist of Clean Bandit, Love Ssega is hugely in demand for his collaborative work across genres from pop to visual art. He is currently the Philharmonia's artist in residence. Ssega came with some truly epic Elgar played by Sheku Kanneh Mason, a serious ear worm of an opera chorus by Verdi, and introduced Jess to the incredible voice of Alice Smith (she's been listening to her on loop since)....


Christmas Party with the Kings Singers

Jess Gillam dons her Christmas jumper to throw a This Classical Life Christmas Party. She's joined by The King's Singers, a fairy light bedecked studio, several packets of party rings and plenty of good tidings as they all share their favourite Christmas music and talk about their festive traditions. From Nick's love of the 'Daniel Craig of the choral classics' Bach's Christmas Oratorio, to Pat's championing of the backing group in an Ella Fitzgerald Christmas tune. Jess, of course, manages...


Jess Gillam with... Caroline Shaw

Jess Gillam and composer Caroline Shaw share their favourite music, with tracks by wordsmith Kae Tempest, a concert waltz by Scott Joplin, the incredible voice of Sarah Vaughan and an unfinished piece by Schubert (but not the one you're thinking!). Playlist: Clara Schumann: 3 Romances Op. 22 No. 3 [Elena Urioste - violin, Isata Kanneh-Mason - piano] Mark Guiliana - a path to bliss Scott Joplin - Bethena [Randy Kerber - piano] Sarah Vaughan - Tenderly Josquin des Prez - Mille regretz...


Jess Gillam with... Vivi Vassileva

Jess meets percussionist Vivi Vassileva to swap some of their favourite music... Vivi is sharing the crazy time signatures of young jazz piano wizard Jesus Molina, traditional Bulgarian music and a Tchaikovsky waltz in 5/4! Jess is offering up the raw emotion of Anna Clyne, Alison Russell and Vikingur Olaffson playing Kaldalóns's Ave Maria on an upright piano. Playlist: Anna Clyne – Shorthand [The Knights] Eva Quartet - Kalina Moma Sigvaldi Kaldalóns - Ave Maria (arr. Olaffson) [Vikingur...


Jess Gillam with... Hugh Cutting

Jess Gillam is joined in the studio by countertenor Hugh Cutting to share the music they can't get enough of. Hugh's choices include the voices of Barbra Streisand, Anthony Rolfe Johnson, and Glen Campbell. Jess brings soundscapes by Anders Hillborg and Dictaphone, and a reimagining of Benjamin Britten's 'Concord' by cellist Matthew Barley. Playlist: Vivaldi - Bassoon Concerto in E Minor, RV 484: III. Allegro [Sergio Azzolini (bassoon) Ensemble L’aura Soave Cremona] Michel Legrand – A Piece...


Jess Gillam with... Daniel Elms

Jess Gillam and composer Daniel Elms swap the tracks they love. Daniel's choices include a string quartet by Thomas Adès, a song by My Bloody Valentine, and the crazy cabaret of HK Gruber; Jess brings lush orchestral scores by Prokofiev and Sibelius, and a souful song from Lorraine Ellison. Playlist: DANIEL ELMS: Consolations in travel [BBC Concert Orchestra/Robert Ames] THOMAS ADES: Arcadiana - VI: "O Albion" [Endellion String Quartet] PROKOFIEV: Romeo & Juliet: Act 3, XLVII: Juliet alone...


Jess Gillam with... Geneva Lewis

Jess Gillam hosts the music show for people who like classical and other stuff too. Today her guest is the violinist Geneva Lewis, who is rapidly becoming known as one of the most classy young players around today. She has recently joined Radio 3's New Generation Artists and is hugely in demand as both a soloist and chamber musicians. Jess and Geneva sit down for a listening party of the music they love the most, including tracks by Britten, Brahms and Billie Eilish.


Jess Gillam with... Daniel Pioro

Jess Gillam is joined in the TCL studio by the violinist and composer Daniel Pioro, to share an eclectic mix of some of their favourite music. Jess' choices today include a violin concerto by Vivaldi, music for saxophone by Gavin Bryars and a track by James Blake. Daniel brings along one of Biber's Rosary Sonatas, music by Claire M Singer and a tribute to the American saxophonist Pharoah Sanders, who died recently.


Jess Gillam with... Cosmo Sheldrake

Jess Gillam is joined by composer and multi-instrumentalist Cosmo Sheldrake for a listening party. Music includes Gil Evans and Miles Davis's take on Concierto de Aranjuez, and Thomas Tallis's Spem in Alium. Playlist: Rodrigo arr. Gil Evans - Concierto de Aranjuez [Miles Davis] JS Bach arr. Siloti - Prelude (BWV.855a), transc. for piano in B minor (orig. in E minor, '48' no.10) [Vikingur Olafsson] Mariah - Shinzo No Tobira Sibelius - Symphony No. 5 in E flat major, Op. 82 - III Allegro molto...


Jess Gillam with... Fatma Said

Jess is joined by Egyptian soprano, and former BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist Fatma Said, for a listening party of the music they love the most, including Dhafer Youssef, Elliott Smith, Jane Morgan, Massenet and Haydn. Playlist: Ravel – Daphnis et Chloe, M. 57; Introduction [New York Philharmonic, Pierre Boulez] Ángel Gregorio Villoldos - Ad Ay Sa’ab (El Choclo) [Fatma Said, Quinteto Ángel] Elliott Smith - Between the Bars Massenet – Manon, Act 5: Ah des Grieux ! O Manon ! [Angela...


Jess Gillam with... Aaron Akugbo

Jess Gillam meets the trumpeter Aaron Akugbo and they share some of their favourite music, including tracks by Jacob Collier, Errolyn Wallen, Mahler and Beyonce. Edinburgh-born Aaron trained at the Royal Academy of Music, and cites Louis Armstrong as his biggest musical influence. An ex-principal of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, he now combines playing in some of the UK’s top orchestras with a career as a chamber and solo player, which has included a solo recital debut at...


Jess Gillam with... Isobel Waller-Bridge

Jess's guest this week is composer Isobel Waller-Bridge. Best known for her work in TV and film, Isobel has scored The Split, Fleabag, Emma, Vita & Virginia and many more, but she's also a prolific composer for the theatre and is known for her evocative contemporary classical and electronic music for the concert hall. Jess and Isobel sit down for a listening party of the music they love the most - Isobel offers some stunning moments of calm by Hinako Omori and a tuba jam by Sons of Kemet,...


Jess Gillam with... Sam Amidon

Jess's guest this week is folk artist Sam Amidon. His songs reimagine and breathe new life into old songs and ballads, but his musical life also encompasses any number of collaborations with classical composers, experimental producers as well as the jazz world which he finds so inspiring. Sam and Jess settle in for a listening party of the music they love, including Ornette Coleman and friends having a street party, Ennio Morricone in full blown cinematic mode, Sam shares a revelatory...


Jess Gillam with... Laura Snowden

Jess's guest this week is the guitarist and composer Laura Snowden. They meet in the TCL studio for a listening party which revels in the beauty of John Tavener's choral music; unwraps a piece for guitar by the Australian composer and synesthete Phillip Houghton during which explores the range of sounds possible to obtain from the instrument; pauses in the sound world of Laurie Anderson, and follows Berlioz's musical journey into psychedelia. Playlist: John Tavener: The Lamb (Tenebrae, Nigel...