Jessica Duchen writes about music for the Sunday Times and the I News, plus a range of specialist magazines. Previously she was a critic for The Independent for 12 years. She is the author of ten books and works as a librettist regularly with the composer Roxanna Panufnik.
Their community opera Dalia was premiered at Garsington Opera in summer 2022 and won an Excellence in Music Education Award, while Silver Birch, also for Garsington, was shortlisted for an International Opera Award in 2018 (“Jessica Duchen’s libretto is powerful and poetic” – The Times).
Jessica’s latest novel, Immortal (2020), captures the tragic love story behind Beethoven’s ‘Immortal Beloved’ letter. Ghost Variations (2016) is based on the true story of the Schumann Violin Concerto’s rediscovery in the 1930s. John Suchet chose it as his Best Read of 2016 for the Daily Mail’s Christmas Books.
She often narrates concert versions of her novels, which are popular with music societies and festivals and have been heard at the Wigmore Hall, The Sage Gateshead and Kings Place, among other venues. Her numerous original concert dramas include Between Two Worlds, the story of Erich Wolfgang Korngold, commissioned by the Brundibár Festival 2023, and Being Mrs Bach, created in 2018 for the Australian Festival of Chamber Music (“…a beautifully crafted retelling of the ‘Bach’ story with a lot of heart” – Limelight Magazine).
Jessica was born in London, studied music at Cambridge and held editorial posts with several music magazines for ten years before going freelance. She lives in London with her violinist husband and two cats.