26 May 2017, 19:00, Podkarpacka Philharmonic Hall
Gabriela Montero’s visionary interpretations and unique improvisational gifts have won her a devoted following around the world. Anthony Tommasini remarked in The New York Times, “Montero’s playing had everything: crackling rhythmic brio, subtle shadings, steely power… soulful lyricism…unsentimental expressivity.”
Fresh from her BBC Proms debut with the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra and Marin Alsop, Gabriela commenced the 2016/2017 season with an appearance at MusikFest Bremen with the Cadaqués Orchestra and Jaime Martin, recitals at the MiTo Festival in Milan and Turin, and a week of chamber music and collaborative workshops at the Trondheim Festival in Northern Norway. Gabriela also undertakes a European tour this season with the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Mexico and their Music Director Carlos Miguel Prieto, which includes performances of Gabriela’s newly-composed piano concerto and concerts at the Salzburg Festspielhaus, Vienna Musikverein, and Frankfurt Alte Oper. Other season highlights involve performances of Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No. 1 on a UK tour with the Zürcher Kammerorchester and trumpeter Alison Balsom, two engagements with the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra, including the world premiere of a work by Catalan composer Jordi Cervelló, and concerts with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and their new Music Director Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla. Gabriela also continues giving recitals, featuring her acclaimed improvisations, in such places as Madrid, Hong Kong, Taipei, Seoul, Verona, Heidelberg, and the Dominican Republic.
In recent years, Gabriela has been invited to perform with many of the world’s leading orchestras, including: the Royal Liverpool, Rotterdam, Dresden, Oslo, Vienna Radio, and Netherlands Radio philharmonic orchestras; the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, NDR Sinfonieorchester Hamburg, NDR Radiophilharmonie Hannover, Academy of St Martin in the Fields, and Australian Chamber Orchestra; the Pittsburgh, Detroit, Houston, Atlanta, Toronto, Baltimore, and Lucerne symphony orchestras; the National Arts Centre Orchestra of Canada, Württembergisches Kammerorchester Heilbronn, and the Stuttgart Chamber, Cleveland, Philharmonia, Komische Oper Berlin, Vienna Symphony, Residentie, and Sydney Symphony orchestras.
Gabriela is also a frequent recital artist, giving concerts extensively and at such distinguished venues as Avery Fisher Hall, Kennedy Center, Wigmore Hall, Vienna Konzerthaus, Berlin Philharmonie, Frankfurt Alte Oper, Cologne Philharmonie, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Munich Herkulessaal, Sydney Opera House, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Luxembourg Philharmonie, Lisbon Gulbenkian Museum, Tokyo Orchard Hall, Manchester Bridgewater Hall, and at the Edinburgh, Salzburg, Lucerne, Ravinia, Tanglewood, Gstaad, Saint-Denis, Aldeburgh, Cheltenham, Rheingau, Ruhr, Bergen, and Lugano festivals.
In addition to her brilliant interpretations of the core piano repertoire, Gabriela is also celebrated for her ability to improvise, composing and playing new works in real time. She says, “I connect to my audience in a completely unique way – and they connect with me. Because improvisation is such a huge part of who I am, it is the most natural and spontaneous way I can express myself.” Whether in recital or following a concerto performance, Gabriela regularly invites her audiences to choose themes on which she improvises.
Gabriela is also an award-winning and bestselling recording artist. Her most previous album, released in summer 2015 on the Orchid Classics label, featured Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 2 and her first orchestral composition, Ex Patria, winning Gabriela her first Latin Grammy® for Best Classical Album (Mejor Álbum de Música Clásica). Previous recordings include Bach and Beyond, which held the top spot on the Billboard Classical Charts for several months and garnered her two Echo Klassik Awards: the 2006 Keyboard Instrumentalist of the Year and 2007 Award for Classical Music without Borders. In 2008, she also received a Grammy® nomination for her album Baroque, and in 2010 she released Solatino, a recording inspired by her Venezuelan homeland and devoted to works by Latin American composers and her own improvisations on Latin themes.
Gabriela made her formal debut as a composer in 2011 with Ex Patria, a tone poem for piano and orchestra and her emotional response to Venezuela’s descent into lawlessness, corruption, and violence. The piece had its world premiere tour in October of that year with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, and in 2015 was recorded and released internationally with the YOA Orchestra of the Americas and conductor Carlos Miguel Prieto. In March 2016, Gabriela premiered her first full-length composition for piano and orchestra, entitled Piano Concerto No. 1, “Latin”, in Leipzig with the MDR Sinfonieorchester and conductor Kristjan Järvi. Further performances of the work have taken place with the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Mexico and at the Klavier-Festival Ruhr.
A staunch advocate of human rights, whose voice regularly reaches beyond the classical music sphere, Gabriela was recently named an Honorary Consul by Amnesty International and was also selected as a Nominee for Outstanding Work in the Field of Human Rights by the Human Rights Foundation, all in recognition of her ongoing commitment to human rights issues in Venezuela and beyond. She was invited to participate in the 2013 Women of the World Festival, held at London’s Southbank Centre, and has spoken and performed twice at the World Economic Forum in Davos-Klosters. She was also awarded the 2012 Rockefeller Award for her contribution to the arts and was a featured performer at Barack Obama’s 2008 Presidential Inauguration.
Born in Venezuela, Gabriela gave her first public performance at the age of five. Aged eight, she made her concerto debut in her hometown of Caracas, which led to a scholarship from the government to study privately in the USA. She continued her studies under Hamish Milne at the Royal Academy of Music in London, graduating with highest honours. She currently resides in Barcelona with her husband and two daughters.