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Jessie Montgomery is one to watch in the classical music world

A woman, Jessie Montgomery, with dark curly hair looks off in the distance
Composer and Violinist Jessie Montgomery

Jessie Montgomery is a rising star in the classical music world. In the wake of the nation’s racial reckoning, as more classical institutions are seeking out composers of color, Montgomery is booked with commissions.

“I think it also represents an overall interest and investment in American music and what young American composers have to offer,” Montgomery says.

Montgomery interweaves classical music with elements of improvisation in her work. You can hear the lineage of vernacular American music that influences her composing. She’s also heavily influenced by composers including Joan Tower, Duke Ellington and big band style brass and wind writing.

Montgomery recently had her work “I Have Something to Say” performed at the Cincinnati May Festival. It is described as an imagined interaction between abolitionist Sojourner Truth and environmental activist Greta Thunberg. Composer and violinistJessie Montgomery spoke with Cincinnati Edition while she was in town for the performance.

The May Festival is a financial supporter of Cincinnati Public Radio.

Listen to Cincinnati Edition live at noon M-F. Audio for this segment will be uploaded after 4 p.m. ET.

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