Jess McIntosh grew her love for the violin from age 5. She studied under one of Dr. Shinichi Suzuki's own students (Carol Waldvogel) in Milwaukee, WI until the age of 18. Now with nearly three decades playing experience and 15 years private and group teaching experience, it is her highest hope to grow more goodness and beautiful hearts through teaching violin. Students appreciate that she specializes in connecting with young learners, demystifying bowing and rhythmic technique for all ages, and crossing over between classical and fiddle styles.
Jess attended the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, pursuing a degree in Violin Performance under Nobuyoshi Yasuda. Concertmaster of the University Chamber Orchestra and first violinist in the University Symphony Orchestra, she relocated temporarily to Johnson City, Tennessee to study Appalachian history and American fiddle traditions (East Tennessee State University 2008-09). Upon return to Wisconsin she shifted areas of study, earning a Bachelors of Social Work and Spanish while expanding her performance career with a growing traditional American fiddle repertoire.
In 2013 Jess moved to Chicago to pursue teaching and music performance. She is a teaching artist at the Old Town School of Folk Music and an independent private instructor. Her teaching draws from a wealth of experience in early childhood development, the Suzuki Method and traditional American music. She has been staff musician at Augusta Heritage Center's American Vernacular Dance Week (West Virginia 2014, 2015, 2017), teaching artist at Miles of Music Camp (New Hampshire 2014 and Boston 2017), and Suzuki enrichment clinician in the Midwest (North Shore Suzuki Strings 2018). With gratitude to venerated mentors Hunter Berry, Sammy Lind, Roy Andrade, David Yates, Ed Snodderly, Daniel Boner, Sue Demel and many others, she has developed and released 2 albums of original material with her Chicago-based songwriting project, Joybird (joybirdmusic.com).
Jess tours internationally with Al Scorch (Bloodshot Records), has shared the stage with legendary artists Steve Earle, Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives, Chance McCoy, Gil Landry (Old Crow Medicine Show), and country bands Big Sadie and Horseshoe Bender. Her original music has been featured in silent film series, How Do We Sing? and Great Smoky Mountain National Park documentary, Horace Kephart: His Life and Legacy. She was composer/co-lyricist for the play The Revel, which debuted with the House Theater Company of Chicago in 2015, multi-instrumentalist for their production of Hatfield & McCoy (2018), returns yearly as ensemble violinist for The House Theatre's The Nutcracker, and in 2018 designed music for the Chicago Children's Theatre production of Leo Lionni's Frederick.