Jessica Danz is a performer and composer currently based in Scotland. A vocalist and versatile multi-instrumentalist, she brings together classical and folk elements in an experimental, virtuosic style. Known for her finely crafted songwriting, she writes and performs solo material for combinations of voice, violin and piano, as well as creating ensemble works and live scores for theatre, dance and silent film.
Born in Perth, Western Australia, Jessica began piano lessons at the age of seven and violin lessons a year later. She was accepted into full time tertiary study on the violin at the age of fifteen, and on the completion of her degree was awarded the Vose Concerto Prize, the Edith Cowan prize for most outstanding performance graduate, and was a national string finalist in the ABC Young Performers Competition. Following a year's postgraduate study at the Australian National Academy of Music, she went on to explore a wide range of freelance work, including solo performance, chamber music, recording, improvising and teaching.
In 2002 Jessica turned more seriously to composition, writing a series of solo works for violin and voice, and ensemble works including the Mosquito War Dance, which was premiered at the Perth Concert Hall in 2003. In 2004 Jessica recorded her first album Nightfall, touring the works in Australia, Japan, Germany, Denmark and Italy. Over the next few years she performed extensively as a chamber musician, working with a diverse range of ensembles including Duo Ipkendanz-Yong, the Pi Ensemble and the Yarra Trio. She also worked in theatre as a performer and composer, receiving a 2008 Green Room Award for Best Sound Design in Independent Theatre.
In 2009 she was awarded the Corinna d’Hage Mayer Memorial Scholarship at Melbourne University, completing a Master of Music Performance in 2010. She then spent several years focusing on the further development of her visual art practice, undertaking residencies and exhibiting locally and nationally. By 2014 she began to return to music and performance, travelling through Europe and Scandinavia in 2015 and 2016 to undertake residencies and skills development, documenting a series of live performances in diverse locations including mountains, sailing ships, sea caves and ancient churches.
In 2017, while living in the Outer Hebrides, Jessica was commissioned by An Lanntair's Faclan Festival to create a live piano score for the early Icelandic film Ísland í Lifandi Myndum. The work was then installed as part of the exhibition SSA & VAS TOGETHER at the Royal Scottish Academy. In 2018 Jessica was awarded a Creative Scotland Muriel Spark 100 grant to write a new work for string quintet, premiering the work with the Brodick Quartet.
2019 projects include the release of three new albums, and the development of a song cycle inspired by journeys between Australia and Scotland.