“The passion, poetic musicality and sense of structure Ms. Montero brings to classical works translate to her classy improvisations. And no matter how complex the variations, the original melody always emerges triumphantly from a musical tapestry that might weave blues, jazz, tango and Debussy into a multihued framework.” (The New York Times)
Gabriela Montero, the Venezuelan pianist renowned for her improvisational artistry in the concert halls of the world, will perform improvisations on the piano in her living room based on themes submitted by her audience. These will be recorded live and streamed on the internet bi-weekly from December 2007. They will also be available for download for three days after each event.
Gabriela is seeking audience participation in this unique musical experience, inviting fans to email suggested themes (described in up-to-50 words) to her website, www.gabrielamontero.com A theme may be in the form of an emotion, a beautiful vision, an inspiration from another composition, a film or television show, a current life situation or something that has affected us emotionally. The chosen themes will be posted on Gabriela’s website. Those whose themes have been chosen for each edition of Live from My Living Room will receive a personalised MP3 file of Gabriela’s improvisation.
Gabriela Montero has been improvising for about as long as she has been playing the piano but, for many years, she kept this phenomenal ability under wraps. It was only when Martha Argerich heard her improvising and gave her strong encouragement that Gabriela ‘came out’. “Martha persuaded me that it was possible to combine my career as a serious ‘classical’ artist with the side of me that is rather unique.” From that time on, when called upon to give encores after recitals and concerto appearances, she has invited audience members to suggest themes on which she might improvise. “It is the most natural and spontaneous way I can express myself,” she says. “I connect with my audience in a completely unique way – and they connect with me.”
Gabriela Montero was born in Caracas, Venezuela. She first performed in public at the age of five and made her concerto debut with the Venezuelan Youth Orchestra at eight. She subsequently studied in the U.S. on a Venezuelan government scholarship. When she was twelve, Gabriela won the Baldwin National Competition and the AMSA (American Music Scholarship Association) Young Artist International Piano Competition, performing Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. She won the Bronze Medal at the 1995 International Chopin Piano Competition.
Gabriela has performed throughout North and South America, Europe and Asia in recital and with orchestras including the New York, Los Angeles and Boston philharmonics, the NDR Hannover, Stuttgart Philharmonic, the (London) Philharmonia and the Venezuelan Youth Orchestra/Gustavo Dudamel, with whom she has performed all five Beethoven concertos on several occasions. She has given recitals at, among others, the Wigmore Hall, London; Kennedy Center, Washington, D.C.; the National Arts Center, Ottawa; Orchard Hall, Tokyo; the Teatro Colon, Buenos Aires; Herkulessaal, Munich; Musikhalle, Hamburg; the Berlin Konzerthaus and Cologne Philharmonie. She has appeared at numerous festivals in France, Germany and Canada and annually at the Progetto Martha Argerich in Lugano and the Martha Argerich Festival, Buenos Aires.
Highlights of the coming months include recital appearances, among them New York’s Metropolitan Museum and the Washington Performing Arts Society, and performances of concertos by Beethoven, MacDowell, Prokofiev and Rachmaninov (and Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini) in Europe and North America.
Gabriela Montero’s first CD for EMI Classics, a recital of works by Rachmaninov, Chopin, de Falla, Scriabin and Liszt won the Echo Klassik award in 2006 for ‘Keyboard Instrumentalist of the Year’. This was followed by Bach and Beyond, a full disc of improvisations on themes of Bach that won the ‘Classics Without Borders’ prize at the Echo Klassik awards in 2007. Her recently recorded third disc, Baroque, features improvisations on popular themes from the Baroque era, including Pachelbel’s Canon in D, Albinoni’s Adagio and Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, already available in North America and to be released in Europe on 18 February 2008, followed by Asia in June 2008.
“Musically insightful and technically brilliant” (Boston Globe)
“Charismatic and brilliant” (The New York Times)
“Montero is the kind of artist that the classical music world is clamoring for. By reaching out to those who aren’t hard-core classical fans, she breaks down the formality that is a disguise for a brick wall between the audience and the artist.”
(Conductor Thomas Wilkins, who partnered Gabriela Montero in Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl in September 2007, speaking to the Los Angeles Times)