Originally from the Black Hills of South Dakota, Jessica spent fifteen years as a freelance cellist, composer, and singer in Los Angeles before relocating to Missoula in 2013. She received a B.M. in Cello Performance from the University of New Mexico, studying with Joanna de Keyser, and her M.F.A. in Cello Performance from the California Institute of the Arts, under the tutelage of both Erika Duke-Kirkpatrick (Cello Performance) and Dr. Rajeev Taranath (Hindustani Classical Music of North India). As supplementary study, her love of folk music lead her to study with Eugene Friesen (Berklee School of Music), David Baker (Indiana Univ), and Alasdair Fraser & Natalie Haas (Scottish Fiddle Camp). Throughout her higher education, Jessica was awarded full scholarships for music study.
Some of her cello adventures include touring, performing, and/or recording with artists including Carla Bozulich (Geraldine Fibbers), Harold Budd, Nels Cline, Devotchka, The Eels, Fun., Trevor Hall, The Heavy, Dave Matthews, Tim Meyers (One Republic), Alexi Murdoch, Sheila Nicholls, Linda Ronstadt, Spiritualized, James Tenney, Corin Tucker (Sleater-Kinney), Steve Vai, Vitamin String Quartet, VOCO, Scott Weiland, Emily Wells, The White Buffalo, and Wilco. Jessica has appeared on The Tonight Show, The Late Late Show, the NBC Music Video Awards, and has been a soloist for films Mean Creek, The Strangers, The Covenant, and Levity.
As a teaching artist, Jessica worked for over eight years as lead cello mentor for YOLA (Youth Orchestra Los Angeles) - a partnership of the Harmony Project and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Through YOLA, she worked regularly with four youth orchestras, string ensembles, and had 32 cello students in group classes and private lessons. Her students have had the fortune of sitting beside LA Phil musicians in concert, backing up Stevie Wonder, Journey, and The Black Eyed Peas at the Hollywood Bowl, performing with Grace Potter and Sharon Stone on the Tonight Show, playing chamber music next to Condoleeza Rice, and traveling to the White House to play for Michelle Obama and Joshua Bell.
Locally, Jessica can be seen as a member of the Missoula Symphony Orchestra and Glacier Symphony. She is founder and lead teaching artist for Grow Music Missoula. Jessica freelances, plays in The Receptionists string ensemble, avant-folk band Missincinatti, and leads the Cello Mafia, a team of adolescents who like to cover pop songs on their cellos.
She is currently working on her most fulfilling projects to date - raising two young boys - with her sweetie, Jeremy, and their toddler kittens, Maple and Claw. As a family, they love to camp, soak in hot springs, group hug, hang out with Granny and Bumpa, play board games, make pancakes, go sledding, and snuggle for family movie nights.