Jessie Montgomery

Born in New York City, New York, December 8, 1981






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Jessie Montgomery


Jessie Montgomery is a violinist, composer and music educator from New York City. She performs and gives workshops in the US and abroad and her compositions are being performed by orchestras and chamber groups throughout the country.

Jessie was born and raised in Manhattan’s Lower East Side in the 1980’s during a time when the neighborhood was at a major turning point in its history. Artists gravitated there and it was a hotbed of cultural activity and community development. Her parents (father a musician, her mother, an actress) were engaged in the activities of the neighborhood and regularly brought Jessie to rallies, performances and parties where neighbors, activists and artists gathered to celebrate and support the movements of the time. It is from this unique experience that Jessie has created a life in which performance, creativity, education and advocacy merge.

Jessie began her violin studies, at the Third Street Music School Settlement, one of the oldest community organizations in the country. Upon graduating with her Bachelor’s degree from the Juilliard School in Violin Performance in 2003, she joined forces with Community MusicWorks in Providence, Rhode Island, a nationally recognized leader in community development and music education. With this appointment came her first experience as a professional chamber musician as a member of the Providence String Quartet. She continued her chamber music endeavors as a founding member of PUBLIQuartet, a string quartet made up of composers and arrangers, featuring their own music as well as that of emerging and established contemporary composers. Since 2012, she has held post as a member of the highly acclaimed Catalyst Quartet, raved by the New York Times as “invariably energetic and finely burnished…performing with earthly vigor”, touring regularly in the United States and abroad. Recently, she has become a collaborator with Yo-Yo Ma’s Silkroad Ensemble and toured with them in the 2018-19 season.

Since 1999, Jessie has been affiliated with The Sphinx Organization, which supports the accomplishments of young African-American and Latino string players. As a member of the Sphinx network she has played numerous roles within the organization, as a teacher, juror, orchestra member and concertmaster, panelist and ambassador, as well as being a two time laureate in their annual competition. Jessie was also Composer-in-Residence with the Sphinx Virtuosi, a conductor-less string orchestra which toured her music for 3 seasons. In 2014, Jessie was awarded Sphinx’s generous MPower grant to assist in the recording of her acclaimed debut album, Strum: Music for Strings (October, 2015, Azica Records).

In 2012, Jessie completed her graduate degree in Composition for Film and Multimedia at New York University, at which point composing became a true focus on her path. Opportunities came about to partner with the American Composers Orchestra, the Sphinx Organization and chamber groups throughout New York City. This has led to many new commissions for orchestras throughout the country.