Jemma grew up in Market Harborough, Leicestershire. A keen ballet dancer, she began to play the flute at the age of eight, but it wasn’t until the age of 17 that she decided she wanted to make music, and not dance, her career.
Jemma completed her undergraduate studies at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (RWCMD) under the tuition of Jonathan Burgess and Sarah Newbold. As well as gaining a first class degree, she won the 2013 RWCMD Concerto Trials with harpist Llywelyn Jones, the Philippa Whitelaw Yardley Memorial Award in 2013 and the Ken Smith Flute Prize in 2012. Highlights of her time in Cardiff include playing principal flute in Debussy’s Prelude a l’apres-midi d’un faune with RWCMD Symphony Orchestra and performing Mozart’s Flute Concerto in G major with RWCMD Chamber Orchestra as part of the Ian Stoutzker Prize Final.
Jemma continued her studies with a master’s in Orchestral Artistry at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, kindly supported by the Russell Sheppard Instrumental Scholarship Award, the Ashley Family Foundation and the Split Infinitive Trust. There, she was fortunate to perform with the London Symphony Orchestra in a side-by-side concert on the Barbican stage, a venue in which she also appeared with a wind quintet, string trio and as part of a BBC Total Immersion project in 2014.
Jemma’s freelance orchestral work to date includes BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Orchestra of the Welsh National Opera, New London Orchestra and British Sinfonietta. Besides regular performances with her wind quintet, New British Winds, other chamber projects have included a live broadcast on BBC Radio 3 for Welsh National Opera with a flute, viola and harp trio.
What is your favourite piece of music, and why do you love it?
I think it would have to be Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast because of the memories it evokes. This was the first large scale orchestral work that I was involved with when I joined RWCMD and the first time that I got that real adrenaline buzz from performing an orchestral work.
What do you think concerts of the future should look like?
Personally, one of my favourite times of year is during the Proms because you get to go along to a concert, go right up to the top floor of the Royal Albert Hall and sit/ lie back with your eyes closed and enjoy the music. You can even take a picnic to enjoy during the interval. I would like to see traditional seating disappear and a more relaxed feel to concerts without the fear of clapping in the wrong place or doing something wrong.
What do you do with your time when you’re not playing music?
I am a slightly reluctant badminton player and I also enjoy swimming when I can. After a seven year break, I recently started going to ballet lessons again too. My favourite thing to do however, is to spend time with my wonderful friends and family.