Artist Spotlight: Gabriela Montero
Gabriela Montero is a Venezuelan pianist and composer who acts as a catalyst for social change. She openly contests political movements in her native country of Venezuela and strives to use music to make her audience aware of the issues which exist.
On a video on her website (gabrielamontero.com) , Gabriela Montero says “As a composer I create in the moment stories that are happening now. I feel I am almost a journalist in that way. I want to tell people’s stories that are relevant to the now, and the things that matter to the people that are alive today…So I take my duty very seriously of bringing music that not only will make people feel intensely the stories that I am trying to tell but will also educate us to what is happening. For me, silence is not an option.”
Gabriela’s newest CD features her 2011 composition, Ex Patria, for piano and orchestra. The composition is a tone poem depicting the “suffering and chaos” involved in the politics of Venezuela. When discussing the piece, she said “the theme is corrupted by the different instruments showing this kind of ugliness, and this kind of violence that is current in Venezuela.” This piece is Montero’s interpretation of the social problems in her country.
According to writers of The Economist (http://www.economist.com/blogs/prospero/2013/12/musical-politics) not only has she composed an entire piece declaring herself an ex-patriot, she has posted many videos of herself playing the Venezuelan anthem distortedly, such as in a minor key. She is making a statement about her country, while calling the anthems “Himno Morbundo” — The Dying Anthem, a title which mirrors her feelings that her country is dying. She has been prevented from re-entering her country due to her public outcries about Venezuela.
Gabriela Montero’s outcries have certainly gotten some attention. According to her website, “in recognition of her sustained efforts to advocate for human rights through both music and public discourse, Gabriela Montero has been nominated by Amnesty International as its first Honorary Consul.”
Gabriela Montero is an excellent example of a culture worker. She believes that as an artist she is responsible for exposing the problems in Venezuela. She is not easily swayed by governmental views and has even risked her own safety and security. Gabriela Montero does not view herself as merely a pianist or composer, but understands that, through her art, she is a community and world leader.