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WXXI Classical 91.5 is in the process of building a resource of photos and brief biographical information about musicians of African descent. This resource is by no means complete, and we rely on you to help us build the site by sharing your information. Please click on the alphabetical groupings below to begin your discovery.

Jessie Montgomery, violin and composition


Native New Yorker, Jessie Montgomery is a violinist, composer and music educator. Her work as an emerging composer has been recognized 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.

In the 2015-16 season, Jessie was the composer-educator for the Albany Symphony, leading youth education initiatives and performances of recent works. Her music has been featured on national radio by Q2 Music and National Public Radio and is performed regularly by PUBLIQuartet, Catalyst Quartet and Sphinx Virtuosi.

Since 1999 she has been affiliated with The Sphinx Organization, which supports the accomplishments of young African-American and Latino string players. Since 2012, she 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 Competition; and was awarded a generous MPower grant to assist in the development of her debut album, Strum: Music for Strings (October, 2015, Azica Records).

Her degrees include a Bachelor's from The Juilliard School in violin performance and a Master's 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.

More information can be found on her website.