From the great stages of the world to her nurturing private studio, from the intense pursuit of academic research to inspiring worldwide lectures and master classes, and through her powerful recordings, pianist Gabriela Imreh has established herself as a complex, compelling, original artist.
Gabriela Imreh’s performances span the globe: New York, London, Paris, Buenos Aires, Hong Kong, five continents, over 200 US cities, 45 states. Over the years pianists often develop preferences for playing solo recitals, chamber music, or choose the larger fame of solos with symphony orchestras, yet Gabriela crosses these boundaries with ease. Her repertoire is vast, eclectic, adventurous. She takes on the heavy weights of the Romantic concerti while developing unusual, original concept recital programs. During 20 years of close work as Principal Soloist with the Philadelphia Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra, she completely immersed herself into this more intimate, collaborative genre. She prides herself for always looking in the “lost and found” bin of the piano repertoire, discovering or re-discovering gems that have been passed by or mistreated by history. Her recordings of the complete Soirees de Vienne by Franz Liszt, the rarely heard original piano version of Gershwin’s Song Book, Caesar Frank’s Prelude Fugue and Variations, Howard Hanson’s Variations on a Theme of Youth, and most importantly the brilliant Vittorio Giannini Piano Concerto, not heard since its premiere in Carnegie hall in 1937, makes a strong statement for her commitment to non-standard repertoire.
She has a hypnotic spell on her audiences and reviewers respond just as strongly to her playing, unveiling a coherent image of a mature and complete artist. She displays “a sinewy strength balanced by a feminine delicacy of touch that dazzle the senses”… “a keen musical intellect”…”piano playing that isglittering, luminous and refined”… “beefy bravura that she delivers with stunning command” in “heart-pounding” performances.
Gabriela Imreh is the co-author of Practicing Perfection, a ground breaking book and the culmination of 10 years of painstaking research, that has revolutionized the way pianists and psychologists understand musical memory. She has also co-authored many articles on the subject published in leading journals such as “Psychological Science” in the USA, “Piano Journal” in the UK, and “Medecine des Arts” in France.
She collaborated on a special project with New York choreographer Doug Varone in a series of performances at the prestigious Jacob’s Pillow modern dance festival where she performed not just as a pianist, but as an actress/dancer in an innovative theatrical presentation that surprised even in this most avant-garde of venues and drew high praises.
At the center of Gabriela’s current projects stands the performance and recording of the Piano Concerto by Miguel del Aguila along with a new concerto written for her and the Philadelphia Virtuosi by this distinguished composer. Their collaboration continues after the recent world premiere of Aguila’s Islamorada for piano and strings, also written for her and the Virtuosi. With her beloved record producer, Marvin Reiss, she is developing a series of solo albums to be released on the Arabesque label, which is distributing her solo recordings exclusively.
During downtimes she is writing autobiographical essays to eventually contribute to her second book, indulges in allowing more space for her love of gourmet cooking, painting watercolors, jewelry, fashion, interior design, charitable work, and not in the least her incessant appetite for reading .
Born in Tirgu Mures, Romania, Gabriela Imreh received her Artist Diploma in performance and pedagogy Summa cum laude from the “George Dima” Academy of music. As she was finishing her studies she met young American conductor Daniel Spalding who was touring Romania and so started the most romantic of love stories that seemed meant for the large screen. Set against the background of the darkest days of Ceausescu’s last years of ruthless dictatorship, the couple’s plea to get permission to marry was brought to the attention of American politicians and diplomats who eventually intervened. After many months of harassment from the Romanian Secret Service, (the Securitate), having all her concerts canceled and being segregated into isolation, Gabriela eventually received her permission to marry. Most likely this was ultimately triggered by a visit to Romania by Secretary of State George Schultz who successfully negotiated with Ceausescu on behalf of the couple and contributed to Gabriela’s consequent immigration to the Unites States. The couple resides near Princeton, New Jersey, navigate through complicated schedules and strenuous travels, but find solace in returning to their home, dog and 3 cats. Gabriela became an American Citizen in 1992.