Jess is a professional viola player and violin/viola teacher based in Scotland. She graduated with Distinction from a Postgraduate Diploma in viola performance at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow (now the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland), where she studied with Jane Atkins (principal viola, Scottish Chamber Orchestra), funded with the aid of a scholarship from the RSAMD Trust.
Jess was a member of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain aged 15, playing under conductors such as Sir Simon Rattle and Sir Colin Davis, and received her Dip.ABRSM with distinction in 2004. As a soloist, Jess has performed in masterclasses with Ilya Gringolts, the Edinburgh Quartet and Lucy Russell (Fitzwilliam Quartet), and solo recitals with piano have included Hindemith Sonata Op 11 No 4, Rebecca Clarke’s Sonata for viola and piano, Schumann’s Marchenbuilder and Brahms F minor Sonata, all with Audrey Innes. In May 2010, Jessica performed the Stamitz Viola Concerto with the Heisenberg Ensemble in Holy Trinity Church, St Andrews.
Jessica is a keen chamber musician and was a member of the St Andrews-based Rusalka Quartet for 3 years, with which she performed recitals in St Andrews, and at functions in venues such as Queens College Oxford, The Byre Theatre, St Andrews, Aberdeen City Art Gallery, and Dunottar Castle. In summer 2010, she was invited to participate in the ‘Mendelssohn on Mull’ chamber music festival directed by Levon Chilingirian. At the RSAMD, Jessica was involved in concerts with conductors such as Christian Kluxen, David Watkin and Jessica Cottis, and was principal viola of the Stringfest ensemble directed by Jim Clarke. She also took part in chamber masterclasses with members of the Brodsky Quartet and Ursula Smith. In February 2011, Jessica played with the Scottish Ensemble for their 2011 ‘Side by Side’ tour, including concerts at Perth Concert Hall, Caird Hall, Dundee and the Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh.
Recent projects have included a collaboration with Audrey Innes (piano) on various works including Clarke and Hindemith, Haydn’s Seven Last Words of the Cross for quartet with the St Patrick’s Ensemble in Holy Trinity Church St Andrews, and a collaboration with Fence Records’ The Pictish Trail, with which Jess performed at the Queens Hall in November 2011. Jess is also an extra player with the RSNO, SCO and Scottish Opera.
Jess also holds an honours degree in Social Anthropology from the University of St Andrews, and lives with her husband in the heart of the Fife countryside.
Photo copyright Gillian Gamble