Jessica French is a Seattle-based composer, soprano, and music educator. As a composer, she specializes in sacred and secular choral music. Her works have been featured at venues throughout the Pacific Northwest, including St. James Cathedral and St. Mark’s Cathedral in Seattle, the Cathedral of the Madeleine in Salt Lake City, Utah, and at the 2015 Washington ACDA Summer Institute. Her O Nata Lux received its premier in May 2016 by Seattle-based Opus 7 Vocal Ensemble, directed by Loren Pontén, and her Ave Verum Corpus was premiered at the 2014 Oregon Bach Festival, conducted by Craig Hella Johnson. Her two most recent commissions were premiered by the Northwest Girlchoir (Ave Maris Stella) and Choral Arts Northwest (Love Came Down at Christmas) in December 2016. She has a rare neurological ability called synesthesia, in which the senses of the brain are linked to one another, mainly in the form of colors associated with notes, timbres, and words. This ability lends a singularly unique voice to her compositional style.
As a soprano, French has sung in many well-known ensembles in the US, including the Byrd Ensemble and the Tudor Choir. Currently she sings with Choral Arts Northwest (CANW) in Seattle, which recently had the honor of performing for President Obama and the First Lady at the White House in December 2015. CANW is a two-time winner of the American Prize and has performed at the ACDA National Convention in Salt Lake City in 2015. Jessica is also a section leader for the Women’s Schola at St. James Cathedral in Seattle and sings with St. James’ professional vocal ensemble, Cantorei. Her voice can also be heard on various video game soundtracks, as well as the Dota 2016 International Championship in Seattle.
As a music educator, Jessica currently serves as the Director of Music at St. George Catholic School in Seattle, where she teaches music to pre-K through sixth grade students and directs the school’s Dragon Singers, which sings for weekly masses at St. George Parish.
She received her foundational training in music while attending the Madeleine Choir School in Salt Lake City, Utah — a full-time choral program for students in grades K-8. She began studying piano lessons at the age of seven and started organ lessons at the age of fourteen. She has been interviewed by local and national media — most recently by Northwest Focus Live on King FM, Seattle in 2016 — about the premiere of her Love Came Down at Christmas. She was also interviewed by the Salt Lake Tribune and the National Catholic Reporter about her experience at the Madeleine Choir School. In 2011 she was one of the featured alumni in The Choir, a documentary about the school. She received her Bachelor of Music degree in Organ Performance from Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, and her Master of Music degree in Organ Performance from Yale University. Currently, she focuses her activities on composition, choral singing, directing children's choirs, and teaching music to K–6 grade students.