An Interview with James Montgomery: by Norma Beecroft

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James Montgomery
b. 1943 Ravenna, Ohio

Interviewed by Norma Beecroft as part of her ebook, Conversations With Post World War II Pioneers of Electronic Music.
Recorded on audio cassette.
Digital transfer and editing: William Van Ree

James ‘Jim’ Louis Montgomery is best known as a cofounder of one of the oldest live-electronic groups in the world, the Canadian Electronic Ensemble (CEE). Its original members are four composers who graduated in 1972 with Master of Music degrees from the University of Toronto, all drawn by the lure of electronic resources at the university’s electronic music studio (UTEMS) - David Grimes (b.1948), David Jaeger (b. 1947), Larry Lake (b. 1943-d. 2013) and Montgomery. The CEE presented its first concert in 1972 in the inaugural season of New Music Concerts in Toronto, and since has presented its own series of concerts until 2003, and toured extensively in Canada, USA, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

When the CEE was founded, electronic music could mostly be heard on tape, and the synthesizers of the time were just beginning to invade the music world and were large and unwieldy. The CEE designed and built there own instruments, and commissioned composers to write for their talents, and soon built a repertoire of over two hundred new compositions. Each of the members contributed generously to the musical life of Canada in other capacities such as lecturers, educators, broadcasters, as consultants and arts administrators. In addition to performing, Jim Montgomery has acted as administrative director of New Music Concerts, and later artistic director of the Music Gallery.

You can read the transcript of the interview, along with interviews of 22 other electroacoustic composers, by purchasing the ebook here.