Friday, March 21, 2008

Jessie Montgomery, African American Violinist & Composer

[Jessie Montgomery Demonstrates Violin Technique At Third Street Music School Settlement in New York City. Photo Credit:]

Following yesterday's AfriClassical post on the community-oriented Providence String Quartet, we obtained additional information from Heath Marlow, Artistic Program Administrator at Community MusicWorks, who explained that in addition to performing as a violinist with the PSQ, Jessie Montgomery is a composer. He gave me the link for the 8-minute YouTube video of her composition "Strum" being played by the PSQ:

We found the rhythm and melody so appealing that we plan to listen to the recording many more times. When Jessie was 18 she was Second Place Laureate in Violin at the Sphinx Competition. reports that she won the first Rising Star Award as a violin alumna of the Third Street Music School Settlement in New York City.

Community MusicWorks Biography
Jessie Nzinga Montgomery began her musical studies at age four on the violin at the Third Street Music School Settlement in New York City. Thanks to the creativity and expertise of her teachers Alice Kanack and Nicholas Scarim, she was already seriously involved in the art of improvisation and composition by age eleven. In 1998 and 1999, she was a recipient of the Composer’s Apprentice Award given by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.

After high school, Jessie pursued a bachelor’s degree in violin performance at The Juilliard School. Midway through her studies, she served as a composer for a new music series presented by the New York Youth Symphony in 2001. While living in New York City, she continued her studies with composers Derek Bermel, and Steven Burke. She has been a composer for two independent films, one of which was in collaboration with her father, Ed Montgomery, also a composer and independent film producer.

Jessie resides in the West End of Providence where she is a member of the Providence String Quartet and teaches violin, improvisation, and composition to Community MusicWorks students.

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