Gabriela Montero, the Venezuelan-American pianist and composer, gave her first public concert at the age of five in her home town, Caracas. She made her concerto debut aged eight with the National Youth Orchestra of Venezuela, which would soon develop into the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra. In the early 1990s she studied at London’s Royal Academy of Music. Encouraged by Martha Argerich, she has developed an extraordinary gift for improvisation and 'live' composition. Here she talks to Norman Lebrecht about playing the piano before she was one year old, the early days of El Sistema and her love-hate attitude to the fixities of musical performance.
And, exclusively for Sinfini Music, she has also spontaneously composed and recorded three of her improvisations - watch the first, based on a theme from Brahms's Piano Concerto No.1.
You can listen to the extended audio version of Norman Lebrecht's interview with Gabriela Montero here.