William Montgomery


Born in 1983 in Pocatello, Idaho, William Montgomery is the son of an English professor who was also an avid lover of all music. He began studying piano at 8 and simultaneously developed an interest in composition and orchestration. If he wasn’t practicing, he was listening to music and following the scores, taking notes on the creative devices used by the composer, and figuring out what created certain timbres. William studied piano with Mark Neiwirth until he reached college, and occasionally took lessons in composition from Thom Ritter George. He was an active performer of every style of music from classical piano works to jazz with the Brothers Sutherland Jazz Ensemble to playing drum set for a short lived ska band and rock band named Cover Band to writing arrangements of jazz standards for piano and steel pans. He also accompanied many friends and other musicians that played instruments ranging from oboe to the cymbalom to steel pan.
In 2000, William began his undergraduate studies at Idaho State University. Originally a pre-law major, he never forgot about his love for music, and strong desire to write and perform music. Nearly half way through his pre-law degree (BA in philosophy), William realized that he needed to switch to a degree that would allow him more time to express his creative output and spend time with his new family. So he changed his degree path from philosophy to a BA in music. He studied piano, percussion, and composition. Under the support of Dr. Kori Bond (piano) and Dr. Thom Hasenpflug (percussion and composition), William reignited his love of composition and found a truly individual voice. In 2009, with the help of Dr. Chung Park, William composed the piece Through the Mountains and the Mist for string orchestra. It was submitted into the Idaho State University Undergraduate Research Symposium where it was awarded first place and premiered at the brand new Stephan’s Performing Arts Center. In 2014, William’s piece The Devil Inside for prepared piano and percussion was performed to rave reviews.
In August 2014, William accepted a teaching assistantship and scholarship to the University of Nevada-Reno where he taught freshman and sophomore music theory on top of a full academic course load. He was very active composing a woodwind quintet, a full orchestral piece, a string quartet, percussion quartet, piece for wood blocks, Black Moon (marimba, percussion, two violins) composed for the brand new Contemporary Ensemble at the University of Nevada-Reno, two pieces for electronics, two pieces for solo instrument and tape, and at least eight other acoustic compositions. William studied acoustic composition with Dr. Jamess Winn and electronic composition with Dr. Jean-Paul Perrotte. In the fall of 2015, William was named composer-in-residence for the newly developed Artemisia Chamber Ensemble. The ensemble is comprised of the best high school musicians in the Reno area, many of which acted as principle and first chairs of the Reno Youth Orchestra that preformed in Carnegie Hall under the leadership of Dr. James Altieri. William will be continuing his education at Louisiana State University starting in the fall of 2016 under the guidance of Dr. Dinos Constantinides where he will be pursuing his PhD in Composition.
When William is not busy teaching theory classes, along with his own course work, he loves to impart his love and knowledge of percussion music and skills to new and younger generations of students. While pursuing his bachelor degree, he was the head of percussion at Pocatello Senior High School in Pocatello, Idaho, where he worked closely with Mr. David Beckstead. His duties involved writing warm up music, rearranging music, and instructing the front ensemble and battery for the marching band. Under William’s leadership the drumlins went on to capture 15 percussion caption trophies and helped their band receive over 60 awards in 5 seasons. He was also a technician for a new winter drum line which operated in cooperation with Idaho State University named the Portneuf Valley Drumline. In their second season they went on to win every first place in their division and nearly swept the caption awards at the Inter-Mountain Percussion Association in West Jordan, Utah (2013). William also started an early introduction to music class for children between 5 and 9 at The Leavitt Center where the students learned the basics about music (time values, syncopation, and rhythm). At the end of the term they performed a piece inspire by the Broadway hit Stomp! titled, Detention. After learning of his acceptance to the University of Nevada-Reno, William actively sought out a position as a percussion instructor in a school in Reno. He was hired as the director of percussion for Robert McQueen High School. The percussion was awarded first place at the Nevada State competition on the UNR campus and received second places at numerous California competitions. He was also in charge of the students’ non-marching education during the winter and spring. They resurrected the McQueen Winter Percussion Ensemble that went on to win first place in all their competitions in the Northern Nevada Indoor Association.
William enjoys to relax by traveling, spending time with his family, and listening to music.
William is an educational endorser for Salyer’s Percussion sticks and mallets.

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