Skip to main content

The Glasshouse

Friday 10 May 2024   |   7:30pm
Book Now

Brahms' First Symphony

Jess Gillam

Brahms' First Symphony

Part of Classical 2023/24

Part of Livestreamed Concerts

Sage One

Book Now

Price £17 - £43

Twists. Turns. Leave on a high.

Who’s on stage

To be honest there’s not that many true ‘celebrities’ of classical music. People who have a chance of being recognised on the street. Tonight though we’ve got one – the superstar saxophonist Jess Gillam, who hails from just over the Pennines in Ulverston.

What they’re playing

Unless you’re the kind of person who writes concert blurbs you’ve probably not heard of Alexander Glazunov or Elfrida Andrée. Tonight you get to meet their music, plus there’s Johannes Brahms’ First Symphony.

Need to know

Price: £17 – £43

Running time: 1 hour 40 minutes, including a 20 minute interval.

Discounts: Save if you’re local, unemployed, a first timer.

Age: Under 14s must be accompanied by an adult.

Can’t make it along? Watch for free on YouTube.

What you'll hear

ElfridaAndrée Concert Overture (12’)
Alexander Glazunov Saxophone Concerto (13’)
Johannes Brahms Symphony No. 1 (45’)

Who's playing

Chloé van Soeterstède conductor
Jess Gillam saxophone 
Royal Northern Sinfonia

What's happening in the music

Glazunov’s Saxophone concerto shatters any pre-conceptions you might have about the instrument. It’s soulful. Gentle. Light and dance-like. Brahms’ First Symphony is the opposite. It’s monumental, dramatic, full of stress….and release. And that always feels good.

Writers block

Brahms lived in the shadow of a composer you might just have heard of – Ludwig van Beethoven. With reason, he wondered how on earth he’d ever live up to Beethoven’s genius, especially when it came to symphonies. Who could really offer something new and different after Beethoven’s music? Brahms fretted over this so much it took 14 years for him to write his first symphony. It was worth the wait though.

A shocking start

When you sit down for this concert try and put yourselves in the place of an audience at the premiere of Brahms’ symphony.  A much less noisy world than today. No recorded music, no cars, no bleeps and pings from phones. Imagine then how the start of Brahms’ Symphony would be received. It’s kind of shocking. There’s pounding timpani (drums to you and me), and the tension starts ratcheting up in a way Hans Zimmer would be proud of right from the start.

Sisters are doing it for themselves

Did you know that of all the classical concerts performed all over the world only around 11% include music by women? Or that only around 30% of conductors are women? We’re putting that imbalance right at The Glasshouse, and tonight is a great example. Female talent at the fore on the podium with Chloe van Soeterstède and with our soloist Jess Gillam, plus we hear music from largely forgotten composer Elfrida Andrée, writing great music against the odds in the 1800’s.

Take a listen

Check out our superstar artist in resident Jess Gillam do what she does best at BBC proms.

Your Visit


Friday 10 May 2024

From: £5.00 - £43.00

Live concert

Sage One