Jessica specialises in words for, with and about music. Her output includes novels, biographies, plays, words&music concerts, and librettos including Roxanna Panufnik’s opera SILVER BIRCH (Garsington, 2017). She was classical music correspondent for The Independent from 2004 to 2016.
Her latest novel, ODETTE, is a contemporary, magical-realist take on ‘Swan Lake’, about friendship, love, strangers, loyalty and hope. GHOST VARIATIONS tells “the strangest detective story in music”, based on the true story of the bizarre rediscovery, and Nazi propaganda conscription, of Schumann’s suppressed violin concerto. Four earlier novels include ALICIA’S GIFT, about a child prodigy pianist’s effect on her family.
Jessica often presents narrated concerts at leading concert halls, festivals and music societies in the UK and abroad. Her play A WALK THROUGH THE END OF TIME has been performed by actors including Harriet Walter & Henry Goodman and Janet Suzman & Michael Pennington.
Her biographies of the composers Gabriel Fauré and Erich Wolfgang Korngold have met with wide acclaim, and she maintains, when possible, her widely-read classical music blog, JDCMB.
Jessica lives in London with her violinist husband and two cats.
“A thrilling read” — John Suchet, The Daily Mail Christmas Books Choice, on GHOST VARIATIONS
“Schumann’s wonderful violin concerto has a tragic history unlike any other piece of music. In this splendid new novel Jessica Duchen manages to find the fine balance between facts and fiction.Her book reads like a thriller yet it’s also a tribute to great music and musicians.” — Sir András Schiff on GHOST VARIATIONS
“Enthralling…Jessica writes with an unpredictable and original voice and a dazzling perceptiveness” — Joanna Lumley
“Jessica Duchen’s libretto is powerful and poetic” — Richard Morrison, The Times
“Schumann’s lost concerto and a virtuoso femme fatale keep you gripped and guessing in Ghost Variations. Set in 1930s London, this musical mystery by Jessica Duchen strikes a hot-blooded tune with grace notes from beyond the grave…Duchen’s orchestration of such intrigue merits great applause.” — The Jewish Chronicle on GHOST VARIATIONS