Cellist, Vocalist, Teacher
I am classically trained (San Francisco Conservatory of Music; studied with Bonnie Hampton) and also enjoy playing many genres including Balkan, Klezmer, Bluegrass, Jazz, and Pop. I love to sing. I love to sing and play the cello simultaneously. For the last 10 years I played, sang, co-managed and promoted Real Vocal String Quartet. This world music string & vocal ensemble pushes the string quartet boundaries. With RVSQ I performed at Stern Grove Festival opening for Kronos Quartet, toured overseas through the US State Department program, American Music Abroad, and was featured with a cover photo and article in Strings Magazine. We also recorded with Feist for her 2011 album, Metals, playing with her on the Tonight Show at the Coachella Music Festival.
I also enjoy working in theater and dance, composing original scores and performing in new and classic works. I have performed in Death of a Salesman and The Bright River (A Traveling Jewish Theatre, San Francisco), A Little Night Music, The Last Five Years (A.C.T. San Francisco); The Orphan of Zhao (A.C.T. San Francisco & La Jolla Playhouse); An Audience with Meow Meow, Pericles: Prince of Tyre, and Figaro (Berkeley Repertory Theatre) and in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Post Street Theatre, SF).
I have also performed or recorded with musicians I admire including David J, Bauhaus, Feist, Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings, Journey, Ty Seagull, Sic Alps, Mikal Cronin, Thao & the Get Down Stay Down, Mirah, Vienna Teng, Beats Antique, Beth Custer, and Amy X Nueburg. I recorded on Grammy nominated album, Blueprint of a Lady, for jazz vocalist, Neena Freelon.
My teaching experience is rich and varied, and I work with students from diverse backgrounds and with a range of music levels, ages and instruments. I have 20 years of both professional and instructional experience in the classroom, with private students, as chamber music coach, orchestra conductor and in educational outreach workshops. Since 2006 I have been an instructor of music at the College of Marin. I have also conducted middle school orchestra in the San Francisco Unified School District, and taught voice and improvisation classes at private high schools in the Bay Area.
As a founding member of Real Vocal String Quartet, I led string improvisation workshops at University of Delaware, Cal Poly Pomona, Eastern Illinois University, Colorado Mountain Colleges, and at American String Teachers Association Conferences. I also have experience in musical outreach programming as part of a mixed ensemble that performed in San Francisco Symphony’s Adventures in Music.
“Jessica is a beautiful cellist. She is extremely diverse in her stylistic abilities, but is also an expressive and accomplished classical player.She is a gifted communicator and has a natural and innate sense of music.”
Irene Sazer, violinist & founder, Real Vocal String Quartet
“Jessica makes what seems impossible to do, very possible. She is an excellent observer, there’s not much that she misses, and she is careful to illustrate what a piece of music is about as well as understanding the era from which it comes. I think she is profoundly musical and aware of what is going on around her.”
Kari Prindl, cello student, Alexander Technique Instructor
“I think it is most important that educators bring their classical backgrounds into the real world, and Jessica is a great example of this. Her enthusiasm for everything from classical to cutting edge is a strong and positive influence on her many students.”
Boyd Jarrell, Director of Choral Activities, College of Marin
“Jess is also a great teacher – together we have taught improvisation workshops together as well as given educational performances for children. In both cases, her attention to detail makes our workshops and performances better – she makes sure the concepts we present are tied together to a theme, and that our wording is clear and concise.”
Alisa Rose, violinist, San Francisco Conservatory of Music
“To me, she is a true 21st Century musician, one who is technically accomplished, versatile, eclectic in taste, collaborative, and passionate about being an ambassador for music and engaging fully with a diverse audience”
A.J. McCaffrey, professor of composition, California State University, Northridge