Jesse Plessis is a Canadian composer and pianist of Metis heritage born in the small town of Sparwood, British Columbia. His early musical experiences were from his mother, who sang all through his early childhood and played him records of classical music, especially Mozart; and from his grandfather who played guitar in a dance band in Manitoba and Ontario, and who still plays at least a few times a week to this day.
At the age of 12, Jesse managed to bother his family enough to buy him a small electronic keyboard, and at the age of 13 he began lessons – his early instructors were Doug Lyon, Arne Sahlen, and Allen Reiser. Shortly after learning to read and write music, Jesse began to compose.
Jesse took his bachelor of music degree at the University of Lethbridge, where he studied piano with Deanna Oye and Composition with Arlan Schultz. Other influential professors at the University of Lethbridge were Bente Hansen, Brian black, Adam Mason, and Thomas Staples.
His master’s degree was done at Brandon University in Manitoba. His piano teacher was Megumi Masaki and his composition lessons were with Patrick Carrabre. Here he met several lifelong friends and collaborators: Luis Ramirez, Theresa Thordarson, and Chris Byman – musicians with whom he would go on to found the Centric Festival, an annual summer classical music festival in Lethbridge, which continues under the direction of Ryan Kolodziej.
Jesse returned to Lethbridge to teach at the University of Lethbridge, and later had the opportunity to take masterclasses with Hardy Rittner at the Banff Centre, Norma Fisher at the Royal College of Music in London, and Edith Fischer in Blonay, Switzerland.
Jesse relocated to Montreal in 2015, where he soon became a frequent performer, appearing with Lorraine Vaillancourt and the Nouvel Ensemble Modern in Samuel Andreyev’s A Propos du concert de la semaine derniere, Paolo Bellomia and Orchestre 21 as the soloist in Béla Bartók’s Piano Concerto No. 1, and with students from the University of Montreal in the premiere of his own piano concerto directed by Evgenii Sakmarov. Jesse also appeared in many recitals across Canada and Europe, and in 2020 completed a doctor of musical arts degree in piano performance from the University of Montreal, where he studied with Paul Stewart.
In 2020 Jesse developed focal dystonia, a neurological condition in which movement is impaired in a specific part of the body – for Jesse it was his middle finger of his right hand that he lost control over. Jesse still continues to perform on a full schedule, but with limited repertoire, and he has found success as a collaborative pianist with singers Brittany Rae and Jonathon Adams. Following the diagnosis of focal dystonia, Jesse decided to put more energy into composing while working on recovery, and began a second doctoral degree at McGill University where he studies with Philippe Leroux. Upcoming compositions include several new works for his vocal collaborators Jonathon Adams and Brittany Rae, a quintet for the McGill Percussion Ensemble, and a large-scale set of variations for piano solo set to premiere in late 2024 or early 2025.