BU Music Business Panel: Exploring Pathways

Thursday, Feb 9, 2023, 11:30am - 1:30pm
Alex Sannie, Manitoba Music
Claire Morrison
Jennifer Thiessen
Marika Galea, Brandon University
Lorne Watson Recital Hall
Brandon University School of Music, Queen Elizabeth II Music Building, Brandon, MB, Canada
Manitoba Music
Brandon University


Join us at Brandon University’s 2023 Music Business Panel: Exploring Pathways. Industry professionals Claire Morrison, Jennifer Thiessen and Alex Sannie are presented in conversation with Professor of Jazz and Contemporary Popular Music, Marika Galea. These guests have held a plethora of job titles over their long standing and diverse careers in the music industry.

No registration required


Alex Sannie

Alex Sannie is the Industry Development Coordinator at Manitoba Music. He is an accomplished and award-winning music producer, performer, and presenter with 20 years of experience creating music. He’s most well known as the producer and member of the hip hop group The Lytics. Performing all over the world, The Lytics have played major music festivals and countless concerts. As the producer of The Lytics, his music has been featured in major Hollywood films, television shows, and ad campaigns. Along with the other members of the group, Alex has worked in the studio or shared the stage with industry heavyweights like Nas, Jurassic 5, Sam Kuti, Childish Gambino, A Tribe Called Red, Shad, Kevin Hearn (of The Barenaked Ladies), and Mike D of the Beastie Boys. Alex was also recently the education program coordinator and head instructor at The Indigenous Family Centre.

Claire Morrison

Winnipeg-born, Montreal-based folk songwriter Claire Morrison delivers “luminous … dazzling folk music” (Rocknfool) with fearless intimacy. Folk Music Ontario 2022 Spotlight artist, POP Montréal 2021 official showcase artist, Claire was named a “Canadian artist to watch” in 2021 by the Canadian Cultural Centre in Paris. As per Indiemusic, “she impresses with her ability to convey sensations, lived experience, her own inspirations … a unique, surprising, and insatiable composer.” Latest singles You Are Light + Hands Up (2020) out now. Her first full-length album is slated for release in 2023.

In addition to her solo career, Claire is half of bilingual folk-roots duo Fire & Smoke alongside Daniel Péloquin-Hopfner. On the industry side, Claire began her career in artist management at Empirical Artist Services (The Weakerthans, Paper Lions, Imaginary Cities), before going freelance in 2014. She oversaw artist admin and tour logistics for The Wailin’ Jennys and Ruth Moody before taking on the role of manager to electro-alternative artist Rayannah from 2018 to 2021. She has worked as an artist mentor, musical director, grant writer, and industry consultant with a variety of projects, and in event management with festivals including Cluster New Music + Integrated Arts Festival, Montréal International Jazz Festival, and Les Francos. More recently, she occupied the role of Programming Assistant with Nuit Blanche Montréal.

Jennifer Thiessen

Violist and viola d’amore player Jennifer Thiessen enjoys interpreting repertoire of all eras for her instruments, with particular experience in historical baroque performance, chamber music, and creative music. She worked as an independent musician based in Montreal for two decades, curating and performing with her own groups and joining such ensembles as Ensemble Caprice, collectif9, La La La Human Steps, and Ensemble SuperMusique. Since moving back to Manitoba in 2021, she has played with the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, the Winnipeg Baroque Festival Orchestra, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, and in the Rosamunde and send+receive festivals.

Jennifer creates new music using voice, viola, and electronics for her singer-songwriter project Daily Alice and with her duos: Park Sounds with percussionist Ben Reimer, S[ILK]S, with sound artist Andrea Young, and the JUNO-nominated Toninato/Thiessen with saxophonist Ida Toninato. She is a creative writer and contributes music journalism to Musicworks Magazine. Jennifer accepted the role of Artistic Director of Virtuosi Concerts in 2022. Within a multiplicity of artistic adventures, she is grounded in a passion to create meaningful experiences for herself and her listeners.

Marika Galea

Best known as a bassist supporting a myriad of Canadian and international artists, composer, performer and professor Marika Galea earned her a spot as one of CBC Music’s 2017 35 Best Canadian jazz artists under 35. She received a nod on the 2020 Polaris Music Prize Shortlist for her work on U.S. Girls’ Heavy Light, and has backed 2021 and 2022 Longlist nominees Laura Niquay, Russell Louder and Basia Bulat.

Marika Galea’s movements as a bass player and educator have been quietly felt by the Canadian and American music industries for some ten years. Her choice of instrument suits her grounded personality well, and has allowed her to support both the best in Canadian indie rock and experimental pop, as well as American and European jazz giants.

Galea was born in Toronto to a family that immigrated from Malta and Jamaica, respectively. She went on to study music performance and composition on full scholarship at the University of Toronto and Berklee College of Music in Boston. Her time in the United States from 2012 – 2017 was formative. She performed with many of the great jazz musicians of her time (Ambrose Akinmusire, Cyrus Chestnut, Warren Wolf, Vincent Herring, Ralph Peterson Jr., Jason Palmer), and was a pupil of renowned film composer Terence Blanchard.

After studying bass with Ben Wolfe in New York, Marika moved to Montreal, earning her masters and lecturing in jazz at McGill University where she was awarded research funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Life in Montreal allowed her to meet and begin working with a new scene of indie, pop and rock musicians including Basia Bulat, U.S. Girls, Simon and Erika Angell (Thus Owls, Patrick Watson), Jake Clemons (Springsteen E Street Band), and Tim Kingsbury (Arcade Fire). This completely different web of musicians launched her into a new phase of creation.

Galea now lives in the space between jazz, songwriting and improvisation. She is constantly experimenting with how to tell a story both inside and outside of academia. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Jazz and Contemporary Popular Music at Brandon University, and has been on faculty at McGill University and Conservatory, Berklee College of Music, Prince Edward County Jazz Festival and Monterey Jazz Festival. She also enjoys travelling as a guest lecturer, and has spoken at the McGill Executive Institute, University of Manitoba, Malta Jazz Festival, Monterey Next Generation Jazz Festival and McGill University School of Continuing Studies.

Whether comforting, distracting or celebrating - she invites her audience into a world of her own making and holds them there.


Explore more