Communication, direct contact with the audience, a complex game of questions and answers, suggestion and inspiration. All these are the very stuff of Gabriela Montero’s concerts. Without anyone really noticing, she tears down the barriers between herself and her listeners and invites them to be an immediate part of what she is doing. Often she will ask someone to sing her a melody and then use it for her improvisations, decking it out in Baroque splendour, making it sinuous with a hint of boogie, and then ending up somewhere entirely different, on the dancefloor as a tango, in the present, jazzing it all up.
Venezuelan pianist Gabriela Montero was the recipient of the Heidelberger Frühling Music Prize 2018 in recognition of her achievements as a musical communicator and first-class improviser. For Montero, music-making without a functional ethical compass is pointless. As an artist, she uses her status as one of the most coveted pianists of the day to point the finger at grievances and injustice. As a human being, she employs the – musical – resources at her command to make the world a better place. Little by little.