Just call her Gabby

A SENSE OF GRACE  with pianist Gabriela Martinez, September 21st

Virtuosi Concerts Opening Night sponsored by Taylor McCaffrey


Hello Friends,


As we get ready for opening night, I thought I should have another conversation with Ms Martinez, who invites us to call her Gabby.  I think we are all interested in her unofficial bio.  Newly married, she spoke to me in early August just after she had returned to New York from her California honeymoon.

Gabby is one of the most passionately musical people I’ve ever known.  She is a fifth generation female pianist on her mother’s side, and all of them also had highly developed non-musical specializations. Her mother, for example, is an architect, and her grandmother had a doctorate in Philosophy.

In Venezuela, when Gabby was as young as one-and-a-half, she would sing back the melodies she heard her mother’s students playing.  By four and five, she was begging her mother to teach her piano but her mother always insisted, as gently and tenderly as possible, that she was too young.  Mom actually tried to trick her by sending her for violin lessons.  Mom may secretly be a brilliant psychologist.

Things changed when Gabby was five and started playing piano by ear, simply by listening to some of the pieces that the other students were learning.  Her mom then relented and became her first teacher, but under condition that Gabby promise to learn to read music.  A year later, at age six, Gabby begged her mother to teach her Beethoven’s second piano concerto.  She fell in love with it after she heard it performed, amazingly enough, by one of her mother’s 10-year-old students.  But mom said she was way too young and there was plenty of time to learn it later.  So Gabby learned it on her own.

The writing was on the wall, so the entire family moved to the U.S. when Gabby was eleven so that she could enter pre-college at Julliard.

Gabby’s career as a pianist has seen a meteoric rise, but she has also developed what is close to a spiritual need to teach – especially youngsters, from five to ten.  She remains inspired by her mother who now has two music schools back in Venezuela with 300 children, including babies, who get an interactive musical experience along with their parents.

On September 21st, we will hear what Gabby says is her all-time favourite composition; Beethoven’s late piano sonata, Opus 110.  She says about it what one might normally claim about Chopin’s music – that every note is charged with emotion and colour.  So you can prepare for her concert by listening to it played by some of the world’s greatest pianists on YouTube.  Here is a link to Rudolf Serkin’s performance to get you going… (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V89Z1z9rYqc)

Come be enchanted by Gabriela Martinez on Virtuosi’s opening night, Saturday, September 21, 8pm – and greet her at the post-concert reception.


Pre-Concert Alert – Come Early and be rewarded!!

We are pleased to announce that The Violin Ambassadors of St. Charles Catholic School will be delighting all who arrive early with 2 or 3 pieces that they’ve been polishing up for us.   Sixteen violinists from Grades 4 to 8 will take the stage of Eckhardt-Gramatté Hall at 7:20pm.  The performance is 15 minutes, with a brief intermission before Gabriela performs.  Don’t miss it!


Coming Up…..

Fine Arts String Quartet

with guest

Michael Kim, piano

A Legendary Debut

Saturday, October 5th @ 8pm


Donations Gratefully Received

~ Thank you ~

A heartfelt thank you to all who contributed to Virtuosi Concerts with your subscription renewal.  We are pleased to acknowledgement our Ensemble of Friends on page 5 of our program.


Virtuosi Concerts takes on a Masterclass

This is a First!

Gabriela is generously providing a Masterclass on Sunday, September 22nd.  A handful of lucky students will receive one on one time with Gabriela.  All are welcome as Auditors.  It is truly a learning experience to witness this process.  Students (max. of 4) participate for a fee of $30; Auditors $10.  Contact the Box Office for more details; 204.786.9000

Thanks for joining me.  Until next time,