As a harpsichordist, my primary studies were with Edward Parmentier at the University of Michigan (BM 1988 & MM 1991). In fact, I continue to think of him as my teacher even though it’s been some 25 years since I “studied” with him. Further studies were with John Gibbon at New England Conservatory, with Gustav Leonhardt in Amsterdam, and with Lisa Goode Crawford while working on my DMA at Case Western Reserve University.
For a while, I pursued the path closest to the “mainstream” that harpsichordists can find, by entering competitions and faring surprisingly well: I hold Second Prize from the Jurow International Harpsichord Competition (1991) as well as the Kansas National Harpsichord Competition (1992). In addition, I received the prize of First Distinction as a finalist in the Warsaw (Poland) International Harpsichord Competition (1993). Closer to my natural domain in my field’s margins and underbelly, I received a Solo Recitalist Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts (1996), which enabled me to tour widely with programs of contemporary and women composers’ harpsichord works. Other awards that allowed for me to explore and perform unusual and neglected repertoire include an Individual Artist Grant from the Iowa Arts Council (1998) and, more recently, a Fulbright Senior Scholar Fellowship in the UK (2014).
“…I’ve passed through the lives and educations of so many blossoming pianists and organists, briefly having my way with them as I entice them, sometimes implore them, to swing their arms, to stop controlling musical figuration with crystalline and precise thrusts of the finger, to listen for the thunk thunk thunk of too much force, to breathe at endings, to separate gestures, to allow some notes to be longer than others even if they look the same on the page, to treat bass lines like songs and dances, to never make a musical statement sound exactly the same when said a second time…I have written the words and symbols for strong and weak, up and down, so many times, they have started to look strange and misspelled.”
From Finding the Space Between
While serving as a Graduate Teaching Assistant for harpsichord at the University of Michigan was my first venture into teaching, my first post teaching harpsichord on a music faculty was at Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music (1994-1996). Following that, I taught at the MacPhail Center For the Arts in Minneapolis (1997-2000), and held an endowed position as Adjunct Professor of Harpsichord and Baroque Performance at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (2003-2013). I am now in my 4th year on the faculty of the Historical Performance Department at the Longy School of Music of Bard College, teaching harpsichord, continuo, and performance practice. For 30 years, I have consistently kept a studio of private students ranging from high-school age to 90, and have been featured in many masterclasses and workshops in the US and UK. I’ve also always felt that my primary role in directing large ensembles and operas from the harpsichord – Pittsburgh Opera, Ex Machina Antique Music Theatre Company, University of Minnesota Opera Program, Case Western Reserve-CIM Baroque Orchestra, Old West End Baroque Orchestra, Dickinson College Collegium, Eudaimonia, Boston Opera Collaborative, Longy Baroque Opera Project - has been as a teacher in the most fluid and interactive manner.
Jurow International Competition
Since 2010, I’ve served as Director for the Mae and Irving Jurow International Competition, overseeing (and serving on the jury for) the 7th competition (2012, Cincinnati) and the 8th Competition (2016, Oberlin). It’s been an honor to know and hear so many extraordinary young harpsichordists and to work with such esteemed colleagues on the difficult task of critiquing them. Read more from Early Music America.
I find that this performing life has gone on for so long, and encompassed so much, it’s difficult to summarize or know what the high points have been – each year has brought new dimensions and experiences, and sometimes those which would seem to carry the least luster are the most rewarding.
Much of what I’ve valued most in my career as a harpsichord concert artist has been in collaboration with colleagues, as an ongoing member of ensembles (link to Ensemble & Projects page) where I have both played continuo and co-led - Chatham Baroque, Cecilia’s Circle, Galhano-Montgomery Duo, Adastra, Eudaimonia. I’ve also performed abundantly as a guest continuist or soloist with ensembles and on series across the country – Cumberland Chamber Orchestra, Cedar Rapids Symphony, Dayton Symphony, Akron Symphony, Cleveland Opera, Lyra Baroque Orchestra, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Apollo’s Fire, Music in the Vineyards, Belladonna Baroque Quartet, Phoenix Symphony Orchestra, Pine Mountain Music Festival, Exsultemus, Catacoustic Consort, Concert Nova, Milwaukee’s Ensemble Musical Offering, Ars Lyrica Houston.
RECORDINGS & PERFORMANCES
Louis Couperin, Prelude in D Major
William Byrd Fantasia, Fitzwilliam Virginal Bk No. 52
J.S. Bach Toccata in D minor
J P Sweelinck, Granduca
Antonio de Cabezon , Doulce Memoriae
D Scarlatti, Sonata in F, K 107
Thy Hand Hast Done All This (You Tube)
Bach Brandenburg V, Mvmt I
Vivian Montgomery, Na'ama Lion, Sean Wang, with the Longy School of Music of Bard College Chamber Orchestra, December 2, 2016
With soprano Janet Youngdahl, violinist Julie Andrijeski, and gambist Ann Marie Morgan
Elisabeth Jacquet de La Guerre, Judith, recitative & accompagnement
Elisabeth Jacquet de La Guerre, Le Sommeil d’Ulisse, Tempeste
Galhano/Montgomery Duo (Cléa Galhano, recorder)
JS Bach, Passacaglia in C minor (arr. by Vivian Montgomery)
Adastra, A Period Instrument Duo, Video
with violinist Jennifer Roig-Francoli
Eudaimonia, A Purposeful Period Band, co-directed with violinist, Julia McKenzie
Nicolo Porpora, Salve Regina
featuring Carrie Cheron, mezzo soprano
NEW MUSIC FOR HARPSICHORD
John Howell Morrison, My Love Lives Down That Long Dirt Road (1992)
Mvmt III (Funky Pair 2)