Jessie Montgomery, NewMusicBox

I’m excited to share one of my favorite music resources and invite us all to explore the compelling music of composer, performer, and educator Jessie Montgomery! The Washington Post writes that Montgomery’s music “interweaves classical music with elements of vernacular music, improvisation, language, and social justice, placing her squarely as one of the most relevant interpreters of 21st-century American sound and experience. Her profoundly felt works have been described as “turbulent, wildly colorful and exploding with life.”

NewMusicBox is an online magazine of print and video interviews with living composers. What I love most about these interviews is that we get to connect with composers as human beings: we’re invited in to see photos of their daliy lives and learn who & what has influenced their music. In this 2016 NewMusicBox interview, Montgomery talks about Banner, which she was commissioned to write as a reflection on the 200th anniversary of the Star Spangled Banner. Drawing on musical and historical sources from various world anthems and patriotic songs, she made an attempt to answer the question: “What does an anthem for the 21st century sound like in today’s multi-cultural environment?” Listen to a fantastic live recording of Banner by the LA Philharmonic.