Jennifer Thiessen is no stranger to performing. From orchestral playing in grand concert halls to solo numbers on quaint porches, the classically trained violist and viola d’amore player has developed a broad musical approach over the course of her career, exploring both historical and modern performance practices. 

Born in Austin, Manitoba, Thiessen first pursued musical studies at the University of Manitoba before furthering her education at the University of Ottawa and l’Université de Montréal. 

An active musician, she established herself in the Montreal music scene and beyond, performing as singer-songwriter Daily-Alice, as a member of the duos Park Sounds, S[ILK]S and Toninato/Thiessen. She has collaborated with Ensemble Caprice, Pallade Musica, Infusion Baroque, le Studio de musique ancienne de Montréal amongst others, and also created new works with composers Joane Hétu, Vincent Ho, Karen Sunabacka Harry Stafylakis, Sarah Slean and more. 

After 20 years in Montreal, Thiessen and her husband Ben Reimer made the move back home to Manitoba in July 2021 in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

At the start of the new year, Thiessen was announced as the new Artistic Director of Virtuosi Concerts, Winnipeg’s premiere chamber music concert series. Though she will continue to perform, this new role will have Thiessen making a space for other musicians to share in the art, musicianship and collegiality that is chamber music. 

Jennifer Thiessen joined Simeon Rusnak on Winnipeg’s Classic 107 to discuss the creative opportunities presented by this new role; the connections and culture she hopes to foster as Virtuosi embarks upon its fourth decade; taking the reigns of a live arts organization in the midst of a pandemic; and, her multifaceted understanding of the ‘virtuoso.’