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 creates new music with her duos Park Sounds, S[ILK]S and Toninato/Thiessen. As of January 2022, Jennifer is Artistic Director of Virtuosi Concerts in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Jennifer was suddenlyLISTEN’s Artist-in-Residence in 2020, developing solo music for viola, voice and live electronics. Her duo Park Sounds, with percussionist Ben Reimer, premiered their Root Systems program of Canadian commissions in 2019 (Canada Council for the Arts, GroundSwell), collaborated with pianist Natsuki Hiratsuka on Scenes & Formations in 2021 (Le Vivier, Innovations en Concert, Accès Asie) and composed a new audio/video work Time Piece, released online by GroundSwell in January 2022. S[ILK]S, her experimental duo with Andrea Young, composed, recorded and performed For You, Alone, for voices and analogue electronics in 2021 (No Hay Banda). The Space Between Us, an album of music co-composed and performed with saxophonist Ida Toninato was nominated for a JUNO and an OPUS Prize in 2019. Toninato/Thiessen’s next work, Winter[City]Speaks will premier in 2023 (Re:Flux Festival, GroundSwell). In 2021, Jennifer composed a piece for voice and delay pedal for Andrea Young’s Echo to the Sense album and collaborated with Brandon Auger and Bea Labikova for the Understory improvisation project.
The viola d’amore has become Jennifer’s specialty. In addition to her improvisation practice on this rare instrument, her programs of commissioned solo works 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 with Cénacle, at the Lamèque International Baroque Festival with harpsichordist Mélisande McNabney, and as Vivaldi Concerto soloist with the Oakville Chamber Orchestra.
Jennifer has created new works with composers 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, Harry Stafylakis, Alexandra Fol, Matthew Rickets, Sarah Slean, Isaiah Ceccarelli, Brian Harman and Jerry Semchyshyn.
As a collaborative violist, she has worked extensively with creative, classical and historical ensembles such as Ensemble SuperMusique, Ensemble Caprice, Constantinople, 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, the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, 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.
Jennifer is an avid writer. She contributes regularly to Musicworks Magazine and is working on a creative piece to be published as a book in composer André Cormier’s Piling Sand-Piling Stone project in 2023.
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.