London-based Australian pianist Jayson Gillham captured the hearts and interest of music lovers across Britain with his performances in the 2012 Leeds International Piano Competition. As a finalist he performed Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto with the Hallé and conductor Sir Mark Elder in the Leeds Town Hall. Elder commented about Jayson’s playing: “He seems very centred as a musician. He makes a very strong, firm sound, different from all the others [the other finalists]. He plays Beethoven in a very open, honest, secure way – with a sort of ‘glow’… Always a lovely sound – gorgeous.”
2012 was an exciting year for Jayson which also saw him being named Commonwealth Musician of the Year on winning the Royal Over-Seas League’s (ROSL) 60th Annual Music Competition. HRH Princess Alexandra presented Jayson with the Gold Medal at London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall. Previous ROSL gold medallists have included fellow Australian pianists Geoffrey Parsons, Geoffrey Tozer and Piers Lane.
Of Jayson’s many competition experiences, perhaps the most memorable moment was performing in the 2010 Chopin International Piano Competition in Warsaw, before an all-star jury led by Martha Argerich and Nelson Freire. After Jayson’s semi-final performance, competition critic Michael Moran remarked: “A deep natural musicality… reminded me at various moments so much of the moderation and taste of Artur Rubinstein – qualities in very short supply during this competition.” All of Jayson’s performances from Warsaw can be viewed online via YouTube (www.youtube.com/user/jaysongillham).
A graduate of the Queensland Conservatorium of Music, where he studied with Leah Horwitz, Jayson relocated to London in 2007 to pursue a Master’s degree at the Royal Academy of Music (RAM) with Christopher Elton. During his two years at the RAM, he was awarded the Bach, Beethoven, Romantic and 20th Century piano prizes, and had the marvellous opportunity to perform in masterclasses with Leon Fleisher, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Stephen Hough and Imogen Cooper.
Jayson has performed in many London venues, including the Royal Festival Hall (soloist with the London Philharmonic Orchestra), Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room, Wigmore Hall, St. Martin-in-the-Fields, St. John’s Smith Square and King’s Place. As a selected artist in both the Countess of Munster Trust’s Recital Scheme and Making Music’s Concert Promoters Group, he has delighted audiences in venues throughout the length and breadth of the UK. His relationship with the Keyboard Charitable Trust has taken him further afield, with performances in New York (Steinway Hall), Virginia (USA), Hamburg, Frankfurt, Rome, Verona, Vicenza, Padua and the Scottish North Highlands.
Other European performance highlights include concertos in Mannheim and Bamberg (Germany) with the Queensland Youth Symphony, recitals at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Brighton Festival and Deià International Music Festival (Majorca), and chamber music at the Linari Classic Festival (Tuscany). In Asia Jayson has performed two Mozart concertos with the Wuhan Philharmonic Orchestra in China, and Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto with the Queensland Youth Symphony in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.
Jayson performs regularly in Australia, returning each year for recital, concerto, chamber music and festival work. He has appeared as soloist with the Sydney Sinfonia, Southbank Sinfonia (Melbourne), Queensland Symphony Orchestra, West Australian Symphony Orchestra, Willoughby Symphony and Queensland Youth Symphony. In March 2014 he will make his debut with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, performing Beethoven’s Second Piano Concerto.
Jayson is the Cultural Ambassador of the Hearts for Africa (Amani) Foundation, an NGO which empowers local people to overcome poverty in rural central Tanzania (www.heartsforafrica.org.au).
(This biography is current as at January 2013. To download the current publicity pack, which also includes high-definition photographs, click here.)