Lorelei Murphree / Contributing Writer
Gabriela Montero is a Venezuelan pianist known for her complex improvisations of musical themes suggested by her audience, as well as her critically acclaimed performances of classical pieces.
She performed Tuesday, Feb. 4 in Brock Recital Hall. Her performance consisted of four pieces from Russian pianists Rachmaninov, Profokiev and Stravinsky. Montero concluded the program with improvisational pieces suggested by her audience.
Montero was born in Venezuela and started her studies at the age of 4 with Lyl Tiempo. She was given a scholarship from the government to study in the United States and then at the Royal Academy of Music in London.
Montero was always naturally drawn to the piano.
“I started playing the piano when I was 1 and a half years old. No one in my family played, it was just nature,” Montero said after her performance.
Montero has debuted with several symphonies and orchestras around the globe. She has also won international competitions. One of her most famous wins was the Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw, Poland. She has produced several award-winning albums and received Latin Grammys for her song “Ex Patria” and album “Baroque.” Montero’s song “Ex Patria” is designed to protest the lawlessness, corruption and violence happening in her native country of Venezuela.
At her performance in the Brock Recital Hall, she effortlessly controlled the atmosphere of the room with her songs. Her pieces contrasted with each other to show her range, and each one was approximately 20 to 30 minutes long.
At the end of her show, she took requests of songs to perform. The first request was the “Star Wars” theme song. During the improvisations, the audience became enthusiastically engaged in the performance. By the second request, several people had their hands raised. Montero closed the program by performing a poignant piece dedicated to her native country of Venezuela, and the audience gave her a standing ovation.
This was Montero’s first performance in Birmingham, Alabama. She is currently on tour, and her next performance is in Dublin, Ireland, on Friday, Feb. 14.
Montero is an example of excellence, and she composes herself beautifully inside and outside of the concert hall.