Gabriela Montero, piano
"Montero's playing had everything: crackling rhythmic brio, subtle shadings, steely power...soulful lyricism...unsentimental expressivity."
The New York Times
Gabriela Montero's visionary interpretations have won her a quickly expanding audience and devoted following around the world. Her engagements include acclaimed performances with the New York Philharmonic, LA Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, Cleveland Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall, WDR Sinfonieorchestre Koln, The Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, Vienna Radio Orchestra, and the Zurich Chamber Orchestra. Recent collaborators include conductors Sir Roger Norrington, Claudio Abbado, Gustavo Dudamel, James Gaffigan, Lorin Maazel, Yannick Nezet-Seguin, and Leonard Slatkin. In recital she has appeared at the festivals of Salzburg, Istanbul, Ruhr, Ravinia, and Tanglewood, as well as the Berlin Philharmonie, Koln Philharmonie, Munich Herkulessaal, Tonhalle Dusseldorf, Kennedy Center and Library of Congress in Washington DC, Wigmore Hall in London, Gewandhaus Leipzig, Salle Pleyel in Paris, National Arts Centre Ottawa, Orchard Hall Tokyo and at the 'Progetto Martha Argerich' Festival in Lugano where she is invited annually.
Ms. Montero's 2013/14 season highlights include her debuts with the Boston Symphony, the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, a recital debut at the Queen Elizabeth Hall International Piano Series in London, as well as recital tours to South America, Canada and Europe. In the US, Gabriela returns to the San Francisco Orchestra, Houston Symphony and Nashville Symphony.
In addition to her brilliant and nuanced classical interpretations, Gabriela Montero's unique personal style comes from her improvisational gifts. "Through improvisation, I connect to my audience in a completely unique way – and they connect with me. Because improvisation is such a vital part of who I am, it is the most natural and spontaneous way I can express myself". Today, in both recital and after performing a concerto, Gabriela often invites her audience to participate by asking for a melody or concept on which to improvise in the classical idiom. This season, at the Komische Oper in Berlin, Gabriela improvises an entire film score to Murnau's epic silent film, Nosferatu. Recently, at the Salle Pleyel, she joined Martha Argerich and friends in a televised concert of music by Bach, improvising fugues in the style of Bach.
It has long been a desire to take her improvisations to the next logical step of composition. Gabriela has enthusiastically embarked on this new phase of her career by composing a work entitled ExPatria for piano and orchestra. Her composition received its premiere performances in London and on tour in Germany with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields. In these concerts, Gabriela demonstrated her three-part role as pianist, composer and improviser, adding Beethoven's Emperor Concerto as well as her legendary solo improvisations to the program. Ms. Montero toured and recorded ExPatria in the summer of 2013 on tour with the Youth Orchestra of the Americas, and revisits the work this season with orchestras in the United States and Europe. Her new piano concerto, the "Latin Concerto" will be premiered in 2016.
Gabriela's innovative perspectives are also in wide demand outside of the classical music world. Gabriela Montero was invited twice to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, as a featured speaker and vocal commentator on the socio-political climate of her native Venezuela, and will participate in the Women of the World Festival at London's Southbank Centre. Ms. Montero performed at the invitation of the White House for President Obama's inauguration in 2008. She is an honored recipient of the 2012 Rockefeller Award for her contributions to the arts.
Ms. Montero's recordings for EMI Classics comprises of one disc of music by Rachmaninov, Chopin and Liszt and a second of her deeply felt and technically brilliant improvisations. Her EMI CD Bach and Beyond is a complete disc of improvisations on themes by Bach which topped the charts for several months. She earned two ECHO Awards from the Deutsche Phono-Akademie: the Keyboard Instrumentalist of the Year Award in 2006, and the Klassik-ohne-Grenzen Award for Bach and Beyond in 2007. In February 2008 her follow up EMI recording of improvisations Baroque was nominated for a Grammy Award and released with great critical acclaim, receiving 5 star reviews from BBC Music Magazine and Classic FM. Gabriela's most recent recording Solatino, released by EMI Classics, is devoted exclusively to works or six Latin American composers, and includes Alberto Ginastera's Piano Sonata No. 1 as well as her own improvisations.
Born in Caracas Venezuela, Gabriela gave her first public performance at the age of five. At the age of eight she made her concerto debut in Caracas and was granted a scholarship from the Venezuelan Government to study in the USA. She currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband and two daughters.