“Music is my connection to the world. It guides me to understand my place in relation to others and challenges me to make clear the things I do not understand. I imagine that music is a meeting place at which all people can converse about their unique differences and common stories.”
Jessie Montgomery is a New York native violinist, composer and music educator.
Jessie has been recognized as an important emerging composer by the American Composers Orchestra, the Sphinx Organization, the Joyce Foundation and the Sorel Organization through generous grants and fellowships that support and promote her works.
For the 2015-16 season she will be the Composer-Educator for the Albany Symphony, leading youth education initiatives and performances of recent works. Further attention to her music has come with commissions from the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, the Young People’s Chorus of New York, and Cygnus Ensemble.
Her music has been featured on national radio by Q2 Music and National Public Radio and is performed regularly by PUBLIQuartet, the Catalyst Quartet and the Sphinx Virtuosi. She was the inaugural Musician Fellow at Lighthouse Works in partnership with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra.
In 2011-2012, Jessie was the Van Lier Composer Fellow at the American Composers Orchestra, with performances of her works for small ensemble showcased throughout New York City in the SONiC Festival, and the Composers OutFront! Series. In 2008 she was in Residence at the Deer Valley Music Festival under the direction of American composer Joan Tower.
Since 1999 Jessie has been affiliated with The Sphinx Organization, which supports the accomplishments of young African-American and Latino string players. Since 2012 Jessie has held a post as Composer-in-Residence with the Sphinx Virtuosi, a conductor-less string orchestra, has been a two-time laureate in the annual Sphinx Competion, and was awarded a generous MPower grant to assist in the development of her debut album, Strum: Music for Strings (October, 2015, Azica Records). In 2016, she will serve as a juror in the annual competition.
An active chamber musician and collaborator, Jessie has performed with the highly acclaimed Catalyst Quartet, raved by the New York Times as “invariably energetic and finely burnished…performing with earthly vigor.” She was a co-founder of PUBLIQuartet, an ensemble of composers and arrangers playing their own music as well as that of emerging and established contemporary composers. From 2004-2009 Jessie was also a member of the Providence String Quartet, a pioneering ensemble in community-based music education. As well as being a traditionally trained classical musician, Jessie has collaborated as an improviser with several avant-garde greats such as Don Byron, Butch Morris and William Parker.
Jessie holds a Bachelor’s degree from The Juilliard School in violin performance and a Master’s Degree in composition and film scoring from New York University. Her primary violin teachers have been Sally Thomas and Ann Setzer and her composition teachers and mentors include Ira Newborn, Joan Tower, Derek Bermel and Laura Kaminsky.