"The stunning young contralto Jess Dandy, however, offered sumptuous tone and beautiful legato. She’s a name to watch"
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 the SongPath initiative; a travelling concert series to promote walking, talking and music-making together for everyone’s mental health.
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 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. 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.
Recent highlights include solo recitals at the Oxford Lieder festival, 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’s engagements later this season include St John Passion with William Christie and Les Arts Florissants on tour in Europe, and with Stephen Layton and the Adelaide and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras, Mass in B Minor in Leipzig and St Matthew Passion at the Boston Early Music Festival, both with the Dunedin Consort, and Handel Israel in Egypt at the Three Choirs Festival. Further upcoming highlights include Beethoven Missa Solemnis at Queen Elizabeth Hall with Crouch End Festival Chorus, Beethoven Symphony No.9with Sir John Eliot Gardiner and the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique, and Eduige in Handel’s Rodelinda with the Harry Bicket and the English Concert.
Promoters please note: if you wish to include this biography in a concert programme etc, please contact Hazard Chase to make sure you receive the most up to date version. Email: Elin Jones
“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)
“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)