Here are 6 interesting things you need to know about Gabriela ahead of her performances with the Orchestra:

1. Gabriela was 7 months old when she first played the piano, a small toy one she was given by her parents and grandmother. She was just 5 years old when she gave her first public performance, and then she made her concerto debut – with the National Youth Orchestra of Venezuela, the ensemble that evolved into the world-famous Simón Bolivar Youth Orchestra – in her home town of Caracas, Venezuela at the age of 8. The performance was given under the baton of the late José Antonio Abreu, best known as the founder of the ground-breaking El Sistema movement.

2. In 2015, Gabriela won a Grammy Award for ‘Best Classical Album’ at the Latin Grammy Awards. The Orchid Classics disc features Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No.2, her own piece ‘Ex Patria’ and 3 freeform improvisations.

3. Gabriela gave her BBC Proms debut in 2016, performing Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A minor with São Paulo Symphony Orchestra conducted by former BSO Chief Conductor, Marin Alsop. Over the years, Gabriela’s collaborators have included Claudio Abbado, Lorin Maazel, Leonard Slatkin, Sir Roger Norrington, Yannick Nézet-Séguin and Vassily Petrenko.

4. In addition to her brilliant interpretations of core piano repertoire, Gabriela is celebrated for her ability to improvise. Gabriela regularly invites her audiences to choose themes and ideas on which she performs. 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.”

5. Gabriela was appointed as the first ‘Honorary Consul’ of Amnesty International in 2015, in recognition of her sustained efforts to advocate human rights in Venezuela, both through music and public discourse.

6. Gabriela’s visionary interpretations and unique gifts have won her a devoted following around the world, including a former President. At Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2008, Gabriela performed a new piece composed by John Williams alongside Anthony McGill, Itzhak Perlman and Yo-Yo Ma. Gabriela made history again when she performed her Latin Concerto at New York’s Carnegie Hall, this summer – she was the first woman to perform her own concerto there since 1960.

“I’m really looking forward to returning to play with Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and to audiences across the South West. To play alongside my dear friend Carlos Miguel Prieto is always a treat, and I can’t wait to perform with Kirill Karabits and in recital with the BSO Soloists.”

Gabriela Montero, BSO Artist-in-Residence 2019/20