Jess Dandy

Jess Dandy

"The stunning young contralto Jess Dandy, however, offered sumptuous tone and beautiful legato. She’s a name to watch"

The Times

Representation: General Management

Photo: Joanna Harries


Jess Dandy is rapidly making a name for herself as one of Britain’s up-and-coming contraltos. In recent seasons she has appeared with the Hallé, the Dunedin Consort, Les Arts Florissants, the BBC Symphony Orchestra and BBC National Orchestra of Wales, and in venues including Barbican Hall, King’s College Chapel, Oslo Cathedral, the Pierre Boulez Saal and the Wigmore Hall. In the 2019/20 season she gives her role debut as Eduige in Handel’s Rodelinda under Harry Bicket. Raised in Cumbria, Jess is a graduate of Trinity College, Cambridge, and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Alongside her performing career, she is also co-founder of SongPath; a travelling concert series to promote walking, talking and music-making together for everyone’s mental health.


Full Biography

Jess Dandy studied at Trinity College, Cambridge and Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where she held a fellowship and graduated with distinction.  She was the winner of the London Bach Society Singers Prize 2017 and the 2018 Oxford Lieder Young Artist Platform, and a finalist in the 2019 Das Lied competition, and is a Britten-Pears Young Artist and Heidelberger Frühling Scholar.  She studies with Gary Coward.

Jess is co-founder with mezzo-soprano, Joanna Harries, of SongPath, an initiative founded to promote walking and music-making in the context of mental health, by exploring the routes and roots of the local landscape. To this end, she is the recipient of the Royal Overseas League Roderick Lakin Memorial Scholarship.

Her opera highlights include two Royal Opera House workshops on new works by Soumik Datta/Glynn Maxwell, and Philip Venables 4.48 Psychosis. Jess also covered the role of the Messenger and was a member of the ensemble in the ROH/Roundhouse production of Monteverdi Orfeo with director Michael Boyd and conductor Christopher Moulds, and played multi-part contralto roles in Jack Furness’ production of Into the Little Hill for Shadwell Opera, and in the première of Alex Mills’s Dear Marie Stopes at the Tête-a-Tête Opera Festival.

On the concert platform appearances include Samson (Micah) with John Butt and the Dunedin Consort at the Händel-Festspiele Halle, Mass in B Minor at Wigmore Hall, Mozart Requiem at St Martin-in-the-Fields, Berlioz Roméo et Juliette at the Barbican and Salle Pleyel with the London Symphony Orchestra and Valery Gergiev, and Andriessen De Staat at the Queen Elizabeth Hall with Simon Wills. Further concerts appearances include Charles Villiers Stanford’s Mass Via Victrix and Handel Messiah with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Mozart Requiem with the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge, further Messiah performances with the Hallé orchestra and at Hereford Cathedral, and Berlioz Les Nuits d’été with the BBC Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Douglas Boyd. Jess is also an experienced ensemble singer with the Monteverdi Choir, The King’s Consort, Le Concert d’Astrée, Polyphony, the Gabrieli Consort and Philharmonia Voices.

Her recent engagements include St John Passion with William Christie and Les Arts Florissants on tour in Europe, and in Australia with Stephen Layton and the Adelaide and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras, Mass in B Minor in Leipzig and St Matthew Passion in the US at the Boston Early Music Festival (both with the Dunedin Consort), her role debut as Dido in Dido and Aeneas at the Ryedale Festival, Handel Israel in Egypt at the Three Choirs Festival and Bach Cantatas with the Dunedin Consort at the Edinburgh International Festival.

Highlights in the 2019-20 season include Dear Marie Stopes at Kings Place, Beethoven Missa Solemnis at the Southbank Centre with Crouch End Festival Chorus, The Dream of Gerontius at the Hampstead Arts Festival, recitals in Barcelona and at the Oxford Lieder festival, Messiah with the Dunedin Consort in Scotland and in South America, Beethoven Symphony No.9 on tour with the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique and Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Beethoven Mass in C Major and Mozart Vesperae Solennes de Confessore with Thames Philharmonic Choir,  Rachmaninov Vespers with the London Concert Choir, St John Passion with the choir of King’s College, Cambridge and St Matthew Passion with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales,  Eduige in Handel’s Rodelinda with Harry Bicket and the English Concert in Europe and the US, and Sancio Fernando, Re di Castiglia at the London and Halle Handel Festivals.


This biography is valid for use until March 2020. We update our biographies regularly and ask that they are not altered without permission. For updated versions, please e-mail



Beethoven 250

February 13th, 2020

Jess Dandy on tour with Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique

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Christmas with Hazard Chase

December 2nd, 2019

Festive concerts throughout the Christmas season

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Magic, Myths and Mortals

October 9th, 2019

Oxford Lieder Festival: HC artists perform at Sholto Kynoch’s prestigious song festival

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Three Choirs Festival 2019

July 24th, 2019

Hazard Chase artists perform in Gloucester at renowned festival

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Holy Week 2019

April 5th, 2019

Hazard Chase artists celebrate the lead up to Easter

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Handel – SAMSON – Dunedin Consort (Linn 2019)

“Jess Dandy, a true contralto, is the oratorio’s voice of balm, singing the sublime prayer ‘Return, O God of hosts’ with warm, even tone and broad phrasing.”

Richard Wigmore, Gramophone (December 2019)

“Jess Dandy’s authoritative mezzo brings great substance to the role of Micah, an Israelite woman who consoles Samson, nowhere more effectively than in her brief but fantastically long-breathed arioso Then long eternity. There is great beauty in her prayer Return, O God of Hosts! and her lament for the dead Samson is beautifully sustained.”

Simon Thompson, Musicweb International (November 2019)

“There is fine singing from Sophie Bevan, Jess Dandy, Matthew Brook and the rest of the soloists”

Richard Fairman, The Financial Times (November 2019)

“Samson’s sidekick Micah can often seem something of a moralising bore, constantly popping up and commenting. But when sung by Jess Dandy, nothing is further from the truth. Dandy, a true contralto, brings a beautifully dignified sense of phrasing to everything she sings, whatever the emotion you are always moved by the way she phrases the music. She makes Micah dignified and sober, but never boring.”

Robert Hugill, PlanetHugill (October 2019)

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Alex Mills – DEAR MARIE STOPES – Kings Place

“Alexa Mason (soprano), Jess Dandy (contralto) and Feargal Mostyn-Williams (countertenor) reprised their 2018 performances with considerable skill and dedication. The diction was unanimously excellent, the voices clean and clear. Mills blends the three high-register timbres effectively, as the singers assume a variety of character-roles, echoing each other’s words in a manner which builds dramatic intensity; and Dandy’s rich, earthy lower register provides satisfying contrast, creating a broader expressive palette”

Claire Seymour, Opera Today (September 2019)

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Bach – SECULAR CANTATAS – Dunedin Consort / Edinburgh International Festival

“Alto Jess Dandy sang with a rich, glowing warmth, perfectly balanced with Samuel Boden’s clear tenor”

Miranda Heggie, The Herald  (August 2019)

Bach ST MATTHEW PASSION – Dunedin Consort / Boston Early Music Festival

“Jess Dandy’s plum-luscious “Erbarme dich” contained a cosmic vastness where distant stars pulse red and fade”

CJ Ru, The Boston Musical Intelligencer (June 2019)

“Alto Jess Dandy and violinist Sophie Gent shaped a gorgeous, affecting “Erbarme dich,”

Zoë Madonna, The Boston Globe (June 2019)

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Bach ST MATTHEW PASSION – Dunedin Consort

“More familiar – from the recent Dunedin recording of Handel’s Samson – was contralto Jess Dandy, who was in glorious form here”

Keith Bruce, Herald Scotland (May 2019)

Bach ST JOHN PASSION – Les Arts Florissants

“Contralto Jess Dandy summons up velvety richness in “Es ist vollbracht””

Michael Church, The Independent (March 2019)

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Alex Mills DEAR MARIE STOPES – Tête-à-Tête Opera Festival 2018

“Two solo singers (here the soprano Alexa Mason and the rising star contralto Jess Dandy, both superb)…”

Alexandra Coghlan, Opera Magazine (September 2018)

Bach MASS IN B MINOR – The Dunedin Consort

“The stunning young contralto Jess Dandy, however, offered sumptuous tone and beautiful legato. She’s a name to watch.”
Neil Fisher, The Times (June 2018)

“For the ‘Agnus Dei’ Jess Dandy sang with expressive plangent tone, making much of the long unfolding lines, with the concluding chorus making a powerful conclusion to vibrantly moving account of this work.”
Robert Hugill, Planet Hugill (June 2018)


Handel – SAMSON – Dunedin Consort / Handel Festspiele Halle

“Possibly the most sustained role is that of Micah who observes and comments from the Israelite viewpoint, although it is not as emotionally demanding as the roles of Samson and Manoah. It was sung by English contralto Jessica Dandy… with great range and formidable low notes, excellent technique and subtle feeling, particularly in “Return, O God of hosts”.
Sandra Bowdler, Bachtrack (May 2018)

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Discography & Repertoire

Charles Villiers Stanford – MASS ‘VIA VICTRIX’

BBC National Chorus & Orchestra of Wales conducted by Adrian Partington. Kiandra Howarth (soprano), Jess Dandy (contralto), Ruairi Bowen (tenor), Gareth Brynmor John (baritone).

Lyrita (2019)

Artist Manager

Sue Nicholls (Cambridge)
01223 706023

Associate Artist Manager

Elin Jones (Cambridge)
01223 706026