CSO names Jessie Montgomery composer in residence

Tue Apr 20, 2021 at 10:00 am

By Lawrence A. Johnson

Jessie Montgomery will be the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s next composer in residence. Photo: Jiyang Chen

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra announced Tuesday that Jessie Montgomery will be the orchestra’s next Mead composer-in-residence. Montgomery, who succeeds Missy Mazzoli in the post, will be composer in residence for three years from July 1 through June 30, 2024. 

“It is an incredible opportunity and a tremendous honor for me to serve as the new Mead Composer-in-Residence of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra,” said Montgomery in a statement released by the orchestra. “I am deeply grateful to Maestro Muti for having faith in my experience and perspective, for giving me the chance to bring new and exciting music to the CSO, and for sharing his artistry to premiere my own works for symphony orchestra. 

“In my curatorial role, I’m particularly excited about engaging more closely with the new music community in and around Chicago, as well as bridging connections between the CSO and other artists, especially composers with diverse backgrounds, experiences and approaches to music creation. 

“I am truly honored to contribute to the CSO’s legacy at this time in history, and I can’t wait to get started!”

“The Chicago Symphony Orchestra has an important tradition of sharing new music with audiences,” said Riccardo Muti, CSO music director. “I am looking forward to continuing that tradition and introducing audiences to the music of composer Jessie Montgomery, whose work I have come to know and admire, in making this selection of the orchestra’s next composer-in-residence.”

Montgomery, a native New Yorker, began her violin studies at the Third Street Music School Settlement. She holds a bachelor’s degree in violin performance from the Juilliard School, and a master’s degree in Composition for Film and Multimedia from New York University.

Montgomery became involved with the Sphinx Organization in 1999, a Detroit-based nonprofit that supports young African-American and Latino string players. After receiving multiple Sphinx awards and grants as a young performer and composer, she served as composer-in-residence for the Sphinx Virtuosi, the organization’s professional touring ensemble.

During her CSO tenure, Montgomery, winner of the Sphinx Medal of Excellence and the ASCAP Foundation’s Leonard Bernstein Award, has been commissioned to write three works for orchestra to be premiered by the CSO–one each season–as well as curating the CSO’s MusicNOW concerts. 

MusicNOW has featured Montgomery’s string quartet Break Away and the premiere of her string arrangement of Julius Eastman’s Gay Guerrilla. In the current streaming season, Montgomery’s Starburst and Strum were recently performed by the Civic Orchestra and a quintet of CSO musicians, respectively.

Posted in News

Leave a Comment