Whether she finds herself on a concert hall stage or in an underground venue, Jennifer Thiessen seeks a deep authenticity with which to craft her voice. Mixing new sounds with instruments of the past, she is known for improvising and commissioning new works on the viola and the viola d’amore as well as interpreting their historical repertoire. She is singer-songwriter Daily Alice, and was suddenlyLISTEN’s Artist-in-Residence in 2020 developing solo music for viola, voice and live electronics.
Jennifer released The Space Between Us, a JUNO- and OPUS-nominated album of co-composed music with saxophonist Ida Toninato in 2018 (Ambiances Magnétiques). Her duo Park Sounds with percussionist Ben Reimer premiered their Root Systems program of Canadian commissions in 2019 (Canada Council for the Arts, GroundSwell) and collaborated with pianist Natsuki Hiratsuka on Scenes & Formations in 2021 (Le Vivier, Innovations en Concert, Accès Asie). S[ILK]S, her experimental duo with Andrea Young, released their first collaborative work, For You, Alone as an online recording with film in 2021 (No Hay Banda).
Jennifer’s solo programs of commissioned works for the viola d’amore include: Short Stories for Viola d’Amore (Ottawa New Music Creators), Histoires d’Amour (Innovations en Concert) and Seule Amour/Lone Love (Cluster Festival). She has given recitals of historical viola d’amore music at the Festival Montréal Baroque, the Lamèque International Baroque Festival with harpsichordist Mélisande McNabney, and as concerto soloist with the Oakville Chamber Orchestra.
Jennifer has participated in the creation of new works by Joane Hétu, Danielle Pallardy-Roger, Cléo Palacio-Quintin, Jean Derome, Vincent Ho, Karen Sunabacka, Marielle Groven, Michael Matthews, Dan Morphy, Elizabeth Lima, Susanna Hood, Terri Hron, Cassandra Miller, Steven Gellman, Megan Jerome, Jan Jarvlepp, Jen McLaughlan, Pierre-Yves Martel, Leonard Lightstone, Gavin Bryars, Christopher Butterfield, Matthias Maute, Aleks Schürmer, Alexandra Fol, Matthew Rickets, Sarah Slean, Isaiah Ceccarelli, Brian Harman and Jerry Semchyshyn. Sought-after as a collaborator, she has worked regularly with creative and historical ensembles in Montreal and on the road including Ensemble SuperMusique, Ensemble Caprice, Cénacle, collectif9, Clavecin en Concert, Infusion Baroque, Paramirabo, Pallade Musica, Quatuor Bozzini, le Studio de musique ancienne de Montréal, Dan Taylor’s Theatre of Early Music, Trio ’86, Les Violons du Roy and the Charlottetown Festival Orchestra. From 2007-2012 she toured the world in the on-stage quartet of La La La Human Steps performing new chamber music by Gavin Bryars in the productions Amjad and New Work.
Musical works-in-progress include: participation in a cross-Canada improvised music and video project called Understory, a commission to compose a new work for voice and electronics for Andrea Young’s Echo to the Sense album, and developing S[ILK]S’ recorded work for live performance in October 2021. Winter[City]Speaks the next project by Toninato/Thiessen, will premier in 2023 (Re:Flux Festival, GroundSwell).
Jennifer is an avid creative writer and a music journalist for Musicworks Magazine. She recently published her first feature article and received her first commission for a creative writing piece to be published in André Cormier’s Piling Sand-Piling Stone project.
After two decades in Montreal, Jennifer returned to her Manitoba home in the summer of 2021 with her husband Ben and their two cats. From within a multiplicity of artistic adventures, she remains grounded in a passion to create meaningful experiences for herself and her listeners.