The Washington Post describes Montgomery’s music as “turbulent, wildly colorful and exploding with life” – her music weaves classical elements with folk music, spirituals, improvisation, R&B, jazz, hip-hop, and elements of poetry, making her work a unique experience for performers and audiences alike.
“I really like the idea of adding elements of improvisation and some chance and making the performers, sort of, engage, differently within the piece,” Montgomery said in a 2016 interview with New Music USA. “There’s such a rigidity, and – having played so much standard repertoire [for string quartet] – there’s this expectation that things should be executed a certain way. There’s a real beauty in trying to find your sound and your voice and the way you would interpret a piece of music with all these expectations on it. But I like to throw this other element in that says… ‘screw all that…’”
Montgomery has been active with The Sphinx Organization, which supports young Black and Latinx string players, since 1999. She currently serves as composer-in-residence for the Sphinx Virtuosi, the organization’s flagship professional touring ensemble. A talented violinist herself, Montgomery is an active performer with the Catalyst Quartet while producing regular commissions for the likes of the Albany Symphony, Joyce Foundation, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and other prominent American ensembles. Highlights of her growing body of work include Five Slave Songs (2018) commissioned for soprano Julia Bullock, Records for a Vanishing City (2016), Caught by the Wind (2016), and Banner (2014).
In her work, Montgomery grapples with questions of place, patriotism, history, and belonging – what does it mean to be a Black woman in America? Her music nods to an awareness of itself, seeming to ask the question, "what does art-making look like at this intersection of time, place, and identity?" For Montgomery, she recognizes that her position as a highly regarded artist was hard-won, made possible in part by those who came before her – namely, her parents.