News
 
"Songs of Triumphant Love is an enthralling novel: I couldn't stop reading. I got deeper and deeper into the very real world Jessica Duchen has created and just had to find out how it would unravel. Jessica writes with an unpredictable and original voice and a dazzling perceptiveness, and I was hooked from the first page. A sensational achievement."
JOANNA LUMLEY

 
2019
 

 

3 April 2019, 18:30, Great Malvern Priory, Church Street, Malvern, WR14 2AY
Schumann Violin Concerto -
pre concert talk about Jelly d'Arányi's rediscovery of the work in the 1930s

ESO

with Kenneth Woods and the English Symphony Orchestra.
Violin soloist: Zoe Beyers.

Programme:
Mozart – Overture to the Marriage of Figaro
Schumann – Violin Concerto, Zoë Beyers – Violin
David Matthews – Romanza for Violin and Strings
Mendelssohn – Symphony No. 4 “Italian”

Sponsored by Gerald Green

Booking Link and further information

 

 
13 April 2019, 17:00, Kings Place, London: BEING MRS BACH - UK premiere

Jessica's concert play about Anna Magdalena Bach, first heard in August 2018 in the Australian Festival of Chamber Music, receives its UK premiere with baritone Benjamin Bevan, harpsichordist Steven Devine and cellist Jonathan Manson. Jessica is Anna Magdalena. Part of the Kings Place Bach Weekend with the Feinstein Ensemble, and also part of the series Venus Unwrapped.

Further information and Booking Link
Being Mrs. Bach
 

 

17 April 2019, 19:30, Music at Mansfield Street:
ODETTE: A CELEBRATION OF SWAN LAKE


with Fenella Humphreys (violin), Viv McLean (piano), Jessica Duchen (author/narrator).

Repertoire includes music by Chopin, Liszt, Saint-Saëns, Gershwin and Tchaikovsky.

For more information and booking please contact boas22m@btinternet.com

 
 

 
27 April 2019, 19:30 St Mary's, Perivale:
ODETTE: A CELEBRATION OF SWAN LAKE
with Fenella Humphreys (violin), Viv McLean (piano), Jessica Duchen (author/narrator).

Repertoire includes music by Chopin, Liszt, Saint-Saëns, Gershwin and Tchaikovsky.

Further information on St. Mary's, Perivale website
 

 

28 April 2019, 15:00, The Harborough Collective:
The Methodist Church, Northampton Road, Market Harborough, LE16 9HE

‘Revelation’ - Messiaen: Quartet for The End of Time


Pre-concert talk about Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time.


Further information on this site (scroll to 28 April)

 

 

Saturday 1 June 2019, Oxford Town Hall, 7.30pm
The Ghosts of War

With the Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra, violinist Alena Baeva and conductor Marios Papadopoulos.
I’m overjoyed to be presenting the story of the Schumann Violin Concerto live in concert with the Oxford Philharmonic, exploring the saga of the work’s rediscovery by Jelly d’Arányi. The full, ingenious programme features the concerto as centrepiece, preceded by the exquisite Elegy In Memoriam Rupert Brooke by Jelly d’Arányi’s close friend FS Kelly, who was killed in World War I, and followed in the second half by the stunning Concerto for Orchestra by Bartók, d’Arányi’s old friend from Hungary who wrote this piece after going into exile in the US during World War II. Poised between two devastating wars, the concerto symbolises both a premonition of tragedy and a beacon of hope.
Info and booking here: https://oxfordphil.com/events/128153638/the-ghosts-of-war-2019-06-01

 

 
Friday, 2 August 2019, Start time: TBC Garsington Opera:
THE HAPPY PRINCESS (youth opera world premiere)

Music: Paul Fincham, libretto: Jessica Duchen (after Oscar Wilde)


Information on Garsington Opera website
Garsington Opera
 

 
   
   
   
more to come ....
 
   

 

Author Jessica Duchen talks about her novel 'Ghost Variations' and the real incident that inspired it: the rediscovery in the 1930s, by the great violinist Jelly d'Arányi, of Schumann's long-suppressed Violin Concerto. Film by Zen Grisdale 

 

 
 
Recent Events 2018
 
   

 

14, 15, 16 March 2019, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, University of Maryland Concert Choir, Strathmore (14 March) and Meyerhoff Symphony Hall Baltimore, Valentina Peleggi (conductor)
'Across the Line of Dreams' by Roxanna Panufnik, world premiere

'Across the Line of Dreams' by Roxanna Panufnik, with words by Jessica, world premiere. Baltimore Symphony Orchestra & University of Maryland Concert Choir conducted by Marin Alsop and Valentina Peleggi.

Booking Link Here

 

 

Thursday 29 November, Weybridge Library, Surrey, 11am
Bodies in the Library, Festival of Crime Writing
Coffee with Jessica Duchen

Looking forward to joining Surrey Libraries’ new literary bonanza to talk about turning a real-life musical detective story into a historical literary thriller, Ghost Variations, in which the victim of the crime – effectively a double kidnap! – is music itself… There’ll also be a chance to preview my new novel, Odette, which comes out the following week.
Booking here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/coffee-with-thriller-writer-jessica-duchen-at-weybridge-library-tickets-49484344005

 

 

Wednesday 7 November, Great Malvern Priory, 6.30pm
Ghost Variations and the Schumann Violin Concerto - pre-concert conversation for English Symphony Orchestra

I’m delighted to be joining conductor Kenneth Woods to reveal the true story of Ghost Variations, the 1930s rediscovery of the long-suppressed Schumann Violin Concerto. In the concert the soloist for the concerto is Zoe Beyers, and the programme also includes symphonies by Haydn and Mendelssohn. Details and booking here: https://www.eso.co.uk/7-november-2018-in-malvern-priory-schumann-and-mendelssohn-with-zoe-beyers/

 

 
EVENTS

Tuesday 25 September 2018, 7pm, All Saints' Church, Kirby Hill, North Yorkshire
VOLCANIC ASH 

Jessica Duchen (author/narrator), Thomas Eisner (violin). A first words&music outing for our husband-and-wife team. Original poetry and prose by Jessica with solo violin music by Bach, Beethoven and more played by Tom, telling the story of the time we found ourselves trapped by volcanic ash in…the West Bank. Booking: 01423 326284 or 01423 323774.

 

 

THE HAPPY PRINCESS
A new youth opera with composer Paul Fincham for Garsington 2019.

I’m excited to be working on the libretto for a new youth opera, commissioned by Garsington, with composer Paul Fincham. We’re adapting Oscar Wilde’s fairytale The Happy Prince for a new century: the Prince is a Princess, the impoverished townsfolk are very much of today, but the little Swallow is as devoted and loving as ever. It’s the first new commission for both of Garsington’s two new youth companies, for ages 9-12 and 13-21, and a professional mezzo-soprano will sing the Princess. We hope that the results will be touching, relevant and full of Paul’s wonderful new music! The performance is on 2 August 2019.

 

 

ODETTE PREPARES FOR TAKE-OFF
Odette
, my sixth novel, is published by Unbound
on 29 November 2018.

A 21st-century fairy-tale, Odette is a contemporary, magical-realist take on the famous story of Swan Lake and a successor to the seasonal story tradition of A Christmas Carol. When Odette, the swan, is blown off course in a storm, crashes through Mitzi Fairweather’s window and turns back into a human being at nightfall, the two young women must adjust to one another’s very different worlds. How far can Mitzi help her unexpected guest? Is Odette a helpless refugee, a gifted musician, both, or more? Can her spell really be broken only if a man swears to love her forever? What does it take to become fully human?

I’m enormously grateful to everyone who has pledged a contribution to the book via Unbound’s subscription system – a publication model that Dickens and Beethoven would have recognised, updated for contemporary digital capabilities. You can still pledge or pre-order the book in time for Christmas, and there’s a range of rewards on offer:

https://unbound.com/books/odette/
 

 
Hello, Townsville! from Jessica Duchen on Vimeo.
 
 
   
I'm off to the Australian Festival of Chamber Music in Townsville, Far North Queensland, in late July, where I'll be presenting my new narrated concert Being Mrs Bach, specially commissioned for the event by artistic director Kathryn Stott. My colleagues on stage will include Siobhan Stagg, Roderick Williams, Guy Johnston, the Goldner String Quartet and many more, and it's kind of thrilling. I'll also be giving a talk about women composers for the Winterschool and writing copious quantities of words about the experience of attending the festival.
 
   
   
 


SILVER BIRCH shortlisted for International Opera Award


Great news that Garsington Opera’s Learning and Participation department, which commissioned the ‘People’s Opera’ Silver Birch from composer Roxanna Panufnik and me as librettist, has been shortlisted for an International Opera Award as a result. The awards will be presented on 9 April at the London Coliseum and we are all on tenterhooks with excitement!

The Times’s Richard Morrison termed the libretto ‘Powerful and poetic’, adding: “Whether it’s epic crowd scenes or anguished soliloquies, however, all are folded into a nonstop hour-long drama that is cinematic in its scope and fluidity.”

Classical Source’s Amanda Doran: “Panufnik and Duchen’s achievement is to synthesise personal and poetic experiences, often harrowing and disturbing, into a work of beauty and hope.”

 
 
 
Garsington Opera


 
 
   
   
 


Being Mrs Bach:
a new concert drama for the Australian Festival of Chamber Music, 2018


The Australian Festival of Chamber Music’s new artistic director, Kathryn Stott, has commissioned me to write and narrate a new music-and-words event telling the story of Anna Magdalena Bach in conjunction with extracts from her husband JS Bach’s music. I will be “in character” as Mrs Bach throughout and am excited to share the stage with a crowd of amazing festival musicians including baritone Roderick Williams, soprano Siobhan Stagg, cellist Guy Johnston, the Goldner String Quartet and more. The performance is on 1 August at 5pm. On 2 August I give a talk for the festival’s Winter School students about the history of composers who happen to be women.
.
More details at the festival website, here: https://www.afcm.com.au

 
 
 
AFCM


 
 

 
 
 
 
   

Thursday, 26 April 2018, 19:30
Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
Pre-concert - Chopin and his Second Piano Concerto. at 6.45pm
Concert is conducted by Matthias Pintscher, with David Kadouch as soloist, and the programme also includes extracts from Smetana's Ma Vlast and Dvorák's Symphony No.4.
More info here:
https://www.bbc.co.uk/events/ew68gw

Scottish Symphony Orchestra
 
   
   

Author Jessica Duchen talks about her novel 'Ghost Variations' and the real incident that inspired it: the rediscovery in the 1930s, by the great violinist Jelly d'Arányi, of Schumann's long-suppressed Violin Concerto. Film by Zen Grisdale 

 

 

Thursday, 22 February 2018, 13:00
Leicester Lunchtime Classical Concerts, Leicester Art Gallery
GHOST VARIATIONS, The Concert of the Novel
A compact, one-hour adaptation of Ghost Variations for this splendid lunchtime series run by the amazing oboist Nicholas Daniel in the magnificent surroundings of Leicester’s Victorian art gallery.
More info here:
https://www.leicesterinternationalmusicfestival.org.uk/lunchtime-concerts-2017-8/






 

 
 


Saturday, 10 February 2018, Time:19:00 - 21:00

MAP Studio Caf
é, 48 Grafton Road, London NW5 CDU

WORDS AS MUSIC

Jessica Duchen
Miranda Gold
Lev Parikian
Tot Taylor
will be reading from their work and discussing the formative potential
of Literature that approaches - and often captures - the visceral power
of musical forms.
.
facebook booking link here | Eventbrite booking link here

... to enlarge, please click image

 
       
 

 
 

Thursday, 22 February 2018, 13:00
Leicester Lunchtime Classical Concerts, Leicester Art Gallery
GHOST VARIATIONS, The Concert of the Novel
A compact, one-hour adaptation of Ghost Variations for this splendid lunchtime series run by the amazing oboist Nicholas Daniel in the magnificent surroundings of Leicester’s Victorian art gallery.
More info here:
https://www.leicesterinternationalmusicfestival.org.uk/lunchtime-concerts-2017-8/






 
 
   

 
   
 


Thursday, 25 January 2018, Time:11:00

Cobham Library, The Cedar Centre, Cedar Road, Cobham, Surrey KT11 2AE
Coffee with Jessica Duchen.
A talk and Q&A about my novel 'Ghost Variations' over morning refreshments.
Tickets available from Cobham, Weybridge and Walton libraries.
Venue information here.



 
 
   

 
   
 

 
Tuesday, 2 JANUARY 2018, 7.30pm - Lampeter House, Pembrokeshire

Usher in 2018 with a trip to the beautiful South Wales countryside and the private salon of Julian and Mami’s extraordinary home. Not too far from Carmarthen. Booking: please write to Julian at:
julian@lampeterhouse.com

 

 
We have added a Site Seach Engine for you.
 
 
 
 
 
   
   
   
 
PHILIPPE GRAFFIN biography CLAIRE DESERT information in French The Voice of Russia, English edition Download David le Page Viv McLean