Jessica Ann Best is a diverse cross-disciplinary artist, performing nationwide in opera, musical theater, concert, oratorio, recital, and jazz. Known for her interpretations and versatility; Best has premiered many new works including: Mrs. Otis and Madeline in Gordon Getty’s The Canterville Ghost and Usher House at LA Opera, The Stepmother in Anton Coppola’s, Lady Swanwhite with Opera Tampa, the International Carol Suites (soloist) by Mark Hayes, at Carnegie Hall, the roles of Bessie and Mary Rivers in Louis Karchin’s Jane Eyre, (The Center for Contemporary Opera), Mrs. Foster in Shot, (Nickel City Opera), and the title role of Alice in Alice Ryley, by Michael Ching, commissioned by the Savannah Voice Festival.
Ms. Best has toured with Velvet Caravan; an award-winning, gypsy-jazz ensemble from Savannah Georgia; featuring concerts at the Iridum Jazz Club in New York City and Savannah Music Festival. She has been a featured artist with The Savannah Music Festival for the past five years and The Savannah Voice Festival for seven years. She has performed with The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, The Florida Orchestra, The Santa Fe Opera, Opera Tampa, Gotham Chamber Opera, The Helena Symphony, Nickel City Opera, and Finger Lakes Opera. Ms. Best appears on the new recording of Louis Karchin’s Jane Eyre on the Naxos Label recorded in 2017 and released in 2019.
In 2021, Ms. Best has recorded several virtual concerts for the Savannah Voice Festival and will complete a recording of Handel's Messiah with Westminster Presbyterian Buffalo in May 2021. She made her first live musical performance of 2021 returning to the Savannah Voice Festival for Pop Goes Puccini, with Lauren Jalencovich and Back to Before, singing favorites of opera, musical theater, and music from the 50s. Ms. Best joins the faculty of VOICExperience in Disney World this summer with the Florida VOICE Project . She will be featured as a director and resident artist in the live season of the Savannah Voice Festival summer of 2021!
Best opened the 2020 season in a Broadway concert with the New Jersey Festival Orchestra under the director of Maestro David Wroe and joined the Miami Classical Music Festival as a leading guest artist on board the Celebrity Edge for A Musical Extravaganza At Sea. Best made her debut with Syracuse Opera as the Old Woman in Candide this February, and joined the New York State Ballet for An Evening of Duke Ellington. Best recently made her Birdland debut in The Lineup with Susie Mosher and has toured with the gypsy jazz ensemble, Velvet Caravan. She has been a featured artist with The Savannah Music Festival and The Savannah Voice Festival. She looks forward to returning to The Lineup and many of these organizations in the next year.
While Covid-19 has canceled and rescheduled many performances in 2020 and 2021, Best has created and participated in virtual seasons including The Savannah Voice Festival and The Rochester Fringe Festival. Joining The Savannah Voice Festival for their virtual summer and holiday season, Best has learned how to film and record solo to larger ensemble works. She has co-produced and performed Jake Heggie's At the Statue of Venus and William Bolcom's Cabaret Songs with collaborative pianist, Yoshiko Arahata, for The Rochester Fringe Festival. Jessica has given online jazz live streams for A Small World through Victoria Opera House International, and has enjoyed performing and programming several Zoom concerts; which she is available for engagements. Best has recorded selection as guest artist with Syracuse Opera and filmed the alto soli in Handel's Messiah with Westminster Presbyterian Church early in 2021.
Featured on several podcasts; Ms. Best has connected with an audience on The Mindful Mentor with Bree Gordon and Seasons of Resilience, with Kim Best and Mabel Ortiz. Ms. Best has been a guest speaker at The Mindful Mentor Bootcamp in February 2021. Best has also been a featured interview for "Voices of Covid," a project by Timothy Bostwick and the National Association for Teachers of Singing.
Ms. Best is a Professor of Voice at Nazareth College in Rochester and holds her own private Best holds a Master of Music in Vocal Performance and Literature from Northwestern University and a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance and Literature from Nazareth College. Ms. Best is a proud member of AGMA and The Actor’s Equity Association.
“The first thing I noticed about Jessica was her infectious personality. She is positivity and professionalism wrapped up in a sophisticated, graceful woman. As a conductor and composer, working with her was a true pleasure. She owned the stage and the confidence she exuded matched the exquisite quality of her voice.”
-Mark Hayes, Composer
"Jess Best is a versatile and passionate singing actress. I was very moved by her portrayal of Alice Ryley in the premiere of my opera at Savannah Voice Festival.''
~Michael Ching, Composer
“Jessica Best, who is always fully prepared, totally committed and deeply expressive in her works, should be a role model for all young singers.”
-Fabrizio Melano, Stage Director, The Metropolitan Opera
“Ms.Best’s “Infant Holy, Infant Lowly,” (in Polish) was very moving in its innocence.”
-Jeffrey Williams, New York Concert Review