The Sky’s the Limit

  • Barbara Thompson


Saxophonist Jess Gillam commissioned Barbara Thompson to write this piece for her in 2015. Intended to be performed to a backing track of piano and strings at solo concerts, Jess first played it at the World Saxophone Congress in Strasbourg, where she was the youngest of 2,600 delegates. She is accompanied by Nadine André on piano and the Spitfire Strings.

Jess has always had an interest in promoting live music and she has been running an annual concert series in her home town of Ulverston in the Lake District for the past five years, bringing to the stage international names such as Courtney Pine, Snake Davis, Tommy Smith and the Apollo Saxophone Quartet.

I decided that this video had to be shot in the beautiful scenery around Jess’s home, but anyone familiar with the area will understand the vagaries of the weather and in the course of the two day shoot, the heavens threw everything it could at us. I had to quickly forget any ideas of blue lakes and sunlit peaks. Miraculously, out of nowhere, we did get a beautiful sunset.

Aged 18, Jess made history as the first ever saxophonist to win the Woodwind Final of BBC Young Musician of the Year and in May 2016 reached the Grand Final where she performed a concerto with the BBC Symphony Orchestra at London’s Barbican to critical acclaim. When aged just 13, Jess became the youngest ever endorsee for Yanagisawa Saxophones, one of the finest saxophone manufacturers in the world. She is also a Vandoren UK Artist.

Jon Hiseman July 2016

The Sky’s The Limit composed by Barbara Thompson, published by Temple Music(PRS/MCPS) © Temple Music 2016

Barbara has composed many works for various ensembles, choirs and orchestras. Scores and parts in PDF format and mp3s can be downloaded free at

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