Montero at Sala São Paulo, by Eduardo Tardin
Gabriela Montero was born in Caracas, Venezuela. She first played the piano in public when she was five. When she was eight she played with the Venezuelan Youth Orchestra conducted by José Antonio Abreu. She was given a scholarship from the Venezuelan government to study in the USA. When she was twelve she won the Baldwin National Competition and AMSA Young Artist International Piano Competition, performing Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No.1 with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.
Gabriela played at Barack Obama's presidential inauguration on 20 January 2009 together with the cellist Yo-Yo Ma, the violinist Itzhak Perlman, and clarinetist Anthony McGill. Together they performed "Air and Simple Gifts," a new arrangement by John Williams based on the Shaker hymn Simple Gifts.