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Jess Dandy

Jess Dandy headshot


Cumbrian-born Jess Dandy is the foremost British contralto of her generation and has been praised for her velvety plangent timbre and her remarkable artistic immediacy. Dandy studied modern and medieval languages at Trinity College, Cambridge and the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon. She is an alumna and fellow of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

In the 2023-24 season Dandy sang Elgar's Sea Pictures with the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra; Mozart's Requiem with the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra; Handel’s Messiah with the Hallé Orchestra, Royal Northern Sinfonia, Glyndebourne Sinfonia, and Il Gardellino; and both Julia Perry's Stabat Mater and Bach's St John Passion with the BBC Philharmonic. Dandy also appeared at the London Handel Festival for the Brockes Passion with The English Concert and Handel's Esther with the London Handel Orchestra and Singers.

Recent performance highlights have included singing the role of Micah in Handel’s Samson at the BBC Proms with the Academy of Ancient Music; Bach’s Heilig ist Gott with the Dunedin Consort at the BBC Proms; the world premiere of a new opera All Seas by Josephine Stephenson at Opéra Grand Avignon; the new commission Spell of Creation by Alissa Firsova with the BBC Philharmonic; Bach’s Weinachtsoratorium with Salzburg Kulturvereinigung; and Bach’s St. Matthew Passion with Concertgebouw Amsterdam and Dunedin Consort.

Dandy has appeared on the concert platform with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, The English Concert, Academy of Ancient Music, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique, Minnesota Symphony Orchestra, Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra, Salzburg Kulturvereinigung, BBC National Orchestra & Chorus of Wales, BBC Welsh National Opera, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Dunedin Consort, Les Arts Florissant, Opera Settecento, Hallé Orchestra, Britten Sinfonia, and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic. She has collaborated with conductors such as Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Harry Bicket, Laurence Cummings, Osmo Vänskä, Trevor Pinnock, Gemma New, John Butt, William Christie, Kristian Bezuidenhout, and Stephen Layton.

Dandy feels at home on the recital platform and enjoys working with a range of pianists, including Martin Roscoe, Dylan Perez, Malcolm Martineau, Chris Glynn, James Baillieu, Julius Drake, Gary Matthewman, Keval Shah, Ian Tindale, Sholto Kynoch, Anthony Hewitt, Gavin Roberts, Iain Burnside, Simon Lepper, Huw Watkins, and Wolfram Rieger. She appears regularly at Wigmore Hall and at the Oxford International Song Festival, amongst others.

In 2021, Dandy was shortlisted for a Royal Philharmonic Society Award in the category of young artist. She is a multi-faceted artist with a keen interest in ecology, body psychology, and spirituality. She is the co-founder of SongPath, a mental health initiative that creates musical walking trails in nature for better mental health. With composer Alex Mills, she developed the Music & Being collective, open laboratory space exploring music and our sense of self through interdisciplinary dialogue.

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