Home »     Meet the Musicians »          Symphony Orchestra

Jessica Nance, Assistant Principal Viola

Jessica Nance joined the Kansas City Symphony in 1995 and began serving as the assistant principal viola in 1997. She is a member of the local chamber music group Summerfest Concerts and has appeared with many other Kansas City area ensembles, including the Boulevard String Quartet, newEar Contemporary Chamber Ensemble and the Kansas City Chamber Orchestra. Nance has been a member of the Grand Teton Music Festival and the Des Moines Metro Opera. She also has performed with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and the New World Symphony. Before moving to Kansas City, she held the principal viola chair with the Michigan Opera Theatre and the Windsor (Ontario) Symphony.

Ten questions about me:

What is your favorite thing about performing music?

That it is different every time, and that anything can happen. You really have to live in the moment.

What good book have you read recently?

I love to read, and I read a lot of different types of books, but I really like long novels that transport me to a different time or place.

When you were young, did you enjoy practicing?

I think I did most of the time. When you’re young you can devote yourself fully to something like practicing and it is fun to be good at something. As you get older, you have to juggle more responsibilities and distractions.

What do you do first thing in the morning?


What is your earliest musical memory?

My parents both loved music, and my dad especially had a fondness for early music, so he taught all of us how to play the recorder when we were quite young.

What quality do you most admire in others?

Integrity. I am always impressed by people who do the right thing, even when it is hard or entails personal sacrifice.

How did you choose your instrument?

My older sister played the violin, and my parents had me start violin lessons also when I was eight. A couple of years later, I thought I might like to do something just slightly different, so I switched to the viola, making my elementary school strings teacher very happy!

What is your Kansas City Barbecue "joint" of choice?

Fiorella's Jack Stack Barbeque

What is the best part about being a musician in the Kansas City Symphony?

Without a doubt, the people. The musicians in the orchestra are great musicians, but they are also fun, smart, kind, and excellent colleagues.

Tell us about your family and your hobbies.

I am married to KCS Trumpeter Brian Rood, and we have two young children. I enjoy running and triathlons, and I have run several marathons and even completed a full Ironman triathlon.