Gabriela Montero – VENEZUELA/UNITED STATES
In addition to serving on the jury, Gabriela Montero has been commissioned to compose a new work for the 2025 Cliburn Competition, to be performed by all 30 competitors. This marks the third time that the composer of the commissioned work will also serve on the jury.
Gabriela Montero’s visionary interpretations and unique compositional gifts have garnered her critical acclaim and a devoted following on the world stage. Anthony Tommasini remarked in The New York Times that “Montero’s playing had everything: crackling rhythmic brio, subtle shadings, steely power…soulful lyricism…unsentimental expressivity.”
The 2023–2024 season will feature performances of her own “Latin Concerto” on an extensive U.S. tour with Mexico City’s Orquesta Sinfónica de Minería and Carlos Miguel Prieto, as well as with the New World Symphony (Stéphane Denève), Polish National Radio Symphony (Marin Alsop), Antwerp Symphony (Elim Chan), and National Arts Centre Orchestra (Alexander Shelley), the latter with which she continues a flourishing four-year creative partnership through 2025. In May 2024, she also makes her highly anticipated return to Los Angeles to work with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and Jaime Martín.
Ms. Montero’s other recent highlights include a European tour with the City of Birmingham Symphony and Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla, as well as debuts with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome, Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra, New Zealand Symphony, Orchestre National de France, Orchestre symphonique de Québec, and the Minnesota Orchestra, where “Montero’s gripping performance…made a case that she might become the classical scene’s next great composer/pianist” (Star Tribune). Other recent highlights include residencies with the Sao Paolo Symphony, Prague Radio Symphony, Basel Symphony, and at the (partially COVID-disrupted) Rheingau Festival; debuts at Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall, New York’s 92nd Street Y, Paris’ Philharmonie and La Seine Musicale, and the London Piano Festival at King’s Place; and the launch of “Gabriela Montero at Prager,” an ongoing artistic residency established at the Prager Family Center for the Arts in Easton, Maryland.
Celebrated for her exceptional musicality and ability to improvise, she has performed with many of the world’s leading orchestras to date, including the New York, Royal Liverpool, Rotterdam, Dresden, Oslo, Vienna Radio, Naples, and Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestras; the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, NDR Sinfonieorchester Hamburg, NDR Radiophilharmonie Hannover, Zürcher Kammerorchester, and Academy of St Martin in the Fields; and the Yomiuri Nippon, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Houston, Atlanta, Toronto, Baltimore, Oregon, Dallas, Vienna, Barcelona, Lucerne, and Sydney Symphony Orchestras; the Belgian National Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, orchestra of the Komische Oper Berlin, and Residentie Orkest.
A graduate and Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music in London, Ms. Montero is also a frequent recitalist and chamber musician, having given concerts at such distinguished venues as Wigmore Hall, Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, Vienna Konzerthaus, Berlin Philharmonie, Frankfurt Alte Oper, Cologne Philharmonie, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Munich Herkulessaal, Sydney Opera House, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Luxembourg Philharmonie, Lisbon Gulbenkian Museum, Manchester Bridgewater Hall, Seoul’s LG Arts Centre, Hong Kong City Hall, and the National Concert Hall in Taipei, and at the Barbican’s “Sound Unbound,” London Piano, Edinburgh, Salzburg, SettembreMusica in Milan and Turin, Enescu, Lucerne, Ravinia, Colorado, Gstaad, Saint-Denis, Violon sur le Sable, Aldeburgh, Cheltenham, Rheingau, Ruhr, Trondheim, Bergen, and Lugano Festivals.
An award-winning and bestselling recording artist, her most recent album, released in autumn 2019 on the Orchid Classics label, features her own “Latin Concerto” and Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G Major, recorded with the Orchestra of the Americas in Frutillar, Chile. Her previous recording on Orchid Classics features Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 2 and her first orchestral composition, Ex Patria, winning her her first Latin Grammy® for Best Classical Album. Others 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.
Ms. Montero made her formal debut as a composer with Ex Patria, a tone poem designed to illustrate and protest Venezuela’s descent into lawlessness, corruption, and violence. The piece was premiered in 2011 by the Academy of St Martin in the Fields. Her first full-length composition, Piano Concerto No. 1, the “Latin Concerto,” was first performed in 2016 at the Leipzig Gewandhaus with the MDR Sinfonieorchester and Kristjan Järvi, and subsequently recorded and filmed with the Orchestra of the Americas for the ARTE Konzert channel.
Winner of the 4th International Beethoven Award, Gabriela Montero is a committed advocate for human rights, whose voice regularly reaches beyond the concert hall. She was named an Honorary Consul by Amnesty International in 2015 and recognized with Outstanding Work in the Field of Human Rights by the Human Rights Foundation for her ongoing commitment to human rights advocacy in Venezuela. In January 2020, she was invited to give the Dean’s Lecture at the Harvard Radcliffe Institute and has spoken and performed twice at the World Economic Forum in Davos. 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, she started her piano studies at age 4, making her concerto debut at age 8 in her hometown of Caracas. This led to a scholarship from the government to study privately in the United States and then at the Royal Academy of Music in London with Hamish Milne.