"Montero's playing has everything: crackling rhythmic brio, subtle shadings, steely power in climatic moments, soulful lyricism in the ruminative passages and, best of all, unsentimental expressivity." -- Anthony Tomassini, The New York Times
The Shedd Institute's proudly introduced Venezuelan-born classical pianist, composer and improviser Gabriela Montero to Eugene and to Oregon in 2007 and presented her twice more over the following 3 years. But then, other than a guest appearance at the Oregon Bach Festival in 2014, we have not been blessed with her extraordinary, virtuosic presence since. It has been far too long and we are pleased to welcome a treasured friend back to Jaqua Concert Hall for an evening of straight-up rep at a stunning level of artistry, followed by a celebration in improvisatory expression as only Montero can deliver it. A few additional observations by Tom Manoff from his review of her 2008 performance here gets well at what an evening with Gabriela Montero means:
"...Alberto Ginastera was one of the 20th century's best composers, and his Sonata for Piano, No. 1 is a masterpiece. Performances of this work often suffer in two ways. Pianists let its considerable technical difficulty dominate the interpretation, and pound away at it, missing its complex interplay of musical elements. The other misstep is treating its idiom as somehow exotic, instead of grasping the organic, pancultural interplay of European and Latin American sensibilities. Either misunderstanding can misshape the work. Montero understands the work at every level. And in her hands, all the composer's genius is at play. I cannot imagine a better performance. Ravishing is an understatement..."
"After intermission, Montero improvised on themes suggested by the audience. She gave special attention to the kids in the front rows. Montero had seemed bigger than life in the first part of the evening. Yet in interactions with the audience after intermission, she revealed a sensitive and, at times, very vulnerable personality. Imagine the impact on those kids in this experience of Montero as an artist and a person. Now we’re talking about a future for classical music....
"The lush and intimate acoustics of Jaqua Hall offered a perfect setting for what was, in the deepest sense, a journey of the spirit. The concert was the kind of programming that keeps Eugene connected to the most important musical energies on the globe." -- Tom Manoff, The Register-Guard, 2008