Jessie Montgomery’s “Divided” Cello Concerto Recently out of Exclusivity

Divided for Solo Cello and String Orchestra

This work was co-commissioned by the Sphinx Organization, New World Symphony, Inc., and Carnegie Hall with additional support from Keith and Renata Ward Family Fund at The Miami Foundation


Divided for solo cello and orchestra is a response to the social and political unrest that has plagued our generation in the recent past. Specifically, the sense of helplessness that people seem to feel amidst a world of that seems to be in constant crisis, whether it is over racial injustice, sexual or religious discrimination, greed and poverty, or climate change.

In a world that is so fast-paced, where all of these desperate realities have been unveiled by the internet with constant visual bombardment to the human psyche, how do we regain control and find beauty among the chaos? How can we stack good actions over the negative reactions that easily emerge out of conflict? The cello is a voice crying out to be heard, in chorus with a few, passionate and unrelenting, with the orchestra performing a gritty accompaniment.

— Jessie Montgomery, 2020


The fourth cello part (“D”) may be omitted if there are not enough players.

Listen to Divided on Songs for Our Times, performed by Thomas Mesa (cello) and the Sphinx Virtuosi (string orchestra)

“Montgomery draws the main motive out of the first two notes with exquisite care, keeping tension high before expanding the texture. The piece becomes more frenetic — the resigned main motive growing more impassioned — and the ensemble breaks into distinct layers. Though each layer moves at a different pace, they wax and wane in the same general shape, only coming together during a series of stirring climaxes.”
– I Care If You Listen

“urgent and heartfelt…revealing unexpected colors and dense textures”
– BBC Music Magazine

“It’s a knockout…Kudos to Deutsche Grammophon for seizing the opportunity to widen the Sphinx Virtuosi’s audience and the Sphinx Organization’s invaluable continuing achievements.”
– Gramophone Magazine

For rental inquiries and to purchase the score, visit Notation Central.