Helena Kay started playing alto saxophone when she was 11 years old and was introduced to jazz when her first saxophone teacher gave her a Charlie Parker CD. She grew up in Perth, Scotland and moved to London in 2012 to begin studying at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where she received tuition from Martin Speake, Gareth Lockrane, Malcolm Edmonstone, Martin Hathaway and Christian Forshaw. She graduated in 2016 with a First Class in BMus Jazz (Hons) and was also awarded the Anjool Malde Jazz Prize for the highest jazz final recital mark that year. In 2015 she won the Young Scottish Jazz Musician of the Year Competition on tenor saxophone; an instrument-switch inspired by her love of Sonny Rollins’s playing in particular. In 2017 she won the Peter Whittingham Jazz Award, and is using the award to record her debut album in February 2018.
Helena is now a Guildhall Artist Fellow for the jazz department at the Guildhall School, while maintaining a freelance career as a performer and teacher. She has performed at the Glasgow Jazz Festival, London Jazz Festival, Aberdeen Jazz Festival, Ronnie Scott’s.
Helena has also played with musicians such as Barry Green, Nick Costley-White, Calum Gourlay, Tommy Smith, Ryan Quigley, Hamish Stuart, Scottish National Jazz Orchestra (featuring Joe Locke, Arild Andersen, Tommy Smith), Issie Barratt.
Helena plays and teaches saxophone, clarinet and flute. Please visit the Contact page if you would like to get in touch.