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 has everything: crackling rhythmic brio, subtle shadings, steely power in climactic moments, soulful lyricism in the ruminative passages and, best of all, unsentimental expressivity.”
Highlights from recent seasons include recitals at Avery Fisher Hall, Kennedy Center, Wigmore Hall, Vienna Konzerthaus, Berlin Philharmonie, Frankfurt Alte Oper, Cologne Philharmonie, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Munich Herkulessaal, Luxembourg Philharmonie, Lisbon Gulbenkian Museum, Tokyo Orchard Hall, and at the Edinburgh, Salzburg, Lucerne, Ravinia, Tanglewood, Saint-Denis, Dresden, Ruhr, Bergen, Istanbul, and Lugano festivals.
Gabriela has also been invited to perform with many of the world’s most respected orchestras, including the Los Angeles, New York, Liverpool, Rotterdam, and Dresden philharmonic orchestras; Chicago, San Francisco, Houston, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Atlanta, and Toronto symphony orchestras; the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Academy of St Martin in the Fields, WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln, and Zürcher Kammerorchester; the Cleveland, City of Birmingham Symphony, Philharmonia, and Komische Oper Berlin orchestras; and the Vienna Symphony, NDR Radiophilharmonie Hannover, Residentie, and Sydney Symphony orchestras.
Recent collaborators include conductors Claudio Abbado, Lorin Maazel, Leonard Slatkin, Sir Roger Norrington, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Vasily Petrenko, Marin Alsop, Eivind Gullberg Jensen, James Gaffigan, Andrés Orozco-Estrada, Mario Venzago, Peter Oundjian, Mikko Franck, Carlos Miguel Prieto, Jaime Martín, Kristjan Järvi, Pietari Inkinen, and Patrick Lange.
Gabriela has recently given debut performances at the BBC Proms, and with the NDR Sinfonieorchester Hamburg, Bilbao Orkestra Sinfonikoa, Orquesta Sinfónica del Principado de Asturias, and the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as debut recitals at the Sydney Opera House, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Antwerp deSingel, Manchester Bridgewater Hall, Rheingau Musik Festival, and Cheltenham Music Festival.
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 and ideas on which she improvises.
Gabriela has long held a desire to apply her abilities in improvisation and composition to larger ensembles and contexts. In 2011, she embarked on this new phase of her career by composing a tone poem for piano and orchestra, entitled Ex Patria. Her piece had its world premiere tour in October of that year with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields in London and in several German cities. In 2016, Gabriela performed the world premiere of her Piano Concerto No.1, the “Latin” Concerto, at the Gewandhaus Leipzig with the MDR Symphony Orchestra and Kristjan Järvi, to great critical acclaim.
Gabriela is also an award-winning and best-selling recording artist. Bronze medalist at the Chopin Competition, her debut disc, Bach and Beyond, featured her own improvisations on themes by Bach and held the top spot on the Billboard Classical Charts for several months. She has won two Echo Klassik Awards: the 2006 Keyboard Instrumentalist of the Year and 2007 Award for Classical Music without Borders. She received a Grammy® nomination for her Bach and Beyond follow-up, Baroque, in 2008. Solatino, inspired by her Venezuelan homeland, is devoted to works by Latin American composers and features her own interpretations on Latin themes. Gabriela’s most recent album – an emphatic demonstration of the “total” artist as pianist, composer and improviser – features Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No.2, Montero’s own Ex Patria, and 3 freeform improvisations. It earned Gabriela her first Grammy® Award for “Best Classical Album” at the 2015 Latin Grammy Awards®.
Gabriela’s innovative perspectives have also been sought outside the sphere of classical music. In May 2015, she was appointed as the first “Honorary Consul” of Amnesty International, in recognition of her sustained efforts to advocate for human rights in Venezuela, both through music and public discourse. That commitment also garnered a nomination for Outstanding Work in the Field of Human Rights by the Human Rights Foundation. Gabriela was invited to participate in the 2013 Women of the World Festival at London’s Southbank Centre, and has spoken and performed twice at the World Economic Forum in Davos-Klosters (Switzerland). She was awarded the 2012 Rockefeller Award for her contributions to the arts and played at Barack Obama’s 2008 Presidential Inauguration.
Born in Venezuela, Gabriela gave her first public performance at the age of five. At age 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 the highest honours. She currently resides in Barcelona, with her husband and two daughters.