Horacio Gutiérrez

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Horacio Gutiérrez (born August 28, 1948) is a Cuban-American virtuoso classical pianist.

Early life and education[edit]

Gutiérrez was born in Havana, Cuba, the eldest of four children, to Tomás V. Gutiérrez and Josefina Fernandez Gutiérrez. His mother was his first piano teacher, and was herself an accomplished pianist. His first formal teacher was César Pérez Sentenat. Gutiérrez began performing before audiences at four years of age, and at 11, performed as soloist with the Havana Symphony playing Haydn's D major concerto. When Fidel Castro gained control of Cuba in 1959, the family decided to leave the country together rather than send Gutiérrez abroad alone at a young age.[1]

He moved with his family to the United States in 1961, at the age of 13, and studied in Los Angeles with Sergei Tarnowsky, Vladimir Horowitz's first teacher in Kiev, and later at the Juilliard School under Adele Marcus, a pupil of Russian pianist Josef Lhévinne. He later worked extensively with American pianist William Masselos, a pupil of Carl Friedberg, who himself had studied with Clara Schumann and Johannes Brahms.


He was first seen on American television in 1966, on one of the Young People's Concerts with Leonard Bernstein, playing "The Great Gate of Kiev" from Pictures at an Exhibition, by Modest Mussorgsky.[2]

On August 23, 1970, Gutiérrez made his debut with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Zubin Mehta conducting Rachmaninoff's 3rd Piano Concerto. Martin Bernheimer, music critic with the Los Angeles Times, described his first appearance with the orchestra as "spectacular." [3]

He currently lives and works in the United States. He met his wife, pianist Patricia Asher, while she was studying with William Masselos and Adele Marcus at the Juilliard School.

He was M.D. Anderson Distinguished Professor of Music at the University of Houston from 1996-2003.[4][5] He is currently teaching at Manhattan School of Music.[6]

Gutiérrez's performance career spans over four decades and he is considered by many piano connoisseurs to be one of the great pianists of the 20th century.[7][8][9][10] Gutiérrez suffers from bursitis and a chronic back injury.[11][12][13]


  • BBC "Previn Music Nights" with the London Symphony, (1975)
  • PBS Series: "Previn and the Pittsburgh," (1976)[14]
  • PBS Series: "Previn and the Pittsburgh," (1982)[15]
  • PBS Series: Live from Lincoln Center, "Mostly Mozart Festival," (1985)[16]
  • PBS Series: Live from Lincoln Center, "Chamber Music Society with Irene Worth and Horacio Gutierrez," (1986)[17]
  • The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, (1985), (1986) (Three appearances)

Performance and awards[edit]

He won the Silver Medal in the 1970 International Tchaikovsky Competition and was soon presented in major world-wide concert venues by Sol Hurok's management. After his debut recital in London, Joan Chissell, music critic with The Times (London) wrote, His virtuosity is of the kind of which legends are made.[18] He has played with major orchestras and conductors, including Lorin Maazel, Andrew Davis, Josef Krips, Mstislav Rostropovich, David Zinman, Gerard Schwarz, Andrew Litton, Kurt Masur, James Levine, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Christoph Eschenbach, Zubin Mehta, Eugene Ormandy, Valery Gergiev, Seiji Ozawa, André Previn, Erich Leinsdorf, Yuri Ahronovitch, Klaus Tennstedt, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Daniel Barenboim and many others.

In 1982, he was awarded the prestigious Avery Fisher Prize in recognition of his musical achievements.[19]

Gutiérrez is best known for his interpretation of the Romantic repertoire. He has been highly praised for performances of the Classical style in music of composers such as Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, and Brahms.[20][21][22][23][24][25][26][27][28][29][30]

He won an Emmy Award for his fourth appearance with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.[31]

He was featured in Harold C. Schonberg's work The Great Pianists: From Mozart to Present.[32]

He has recorded for EMI, Telarc, and Chandos Records.[33]

Gutiérrez's recordings include:

  • Prokofiev's Concertos No. 2 and 3 with Neeme Järvi and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. The recording has been acclaimed since its initial release in 1990. Reissued as part of Prokofiev The Piano Concertos in 2009, it was Gramophone's Editor’s Choice in September (2009).[34] Bryce Morrison wrote in Gramophone Magazine, "...Gutiérrez unleashes some of the most thrilling virtuosity on record, storming the Second Concerto’s first movement development/cadenza in a manner that will make lesser pianists tremble."[35]
  • Rachmaninoff's Piano Concertos Nos. 2 and 3 with Lorin Maazel and the Pittsburgh Symphony. The record was nominated for a Grammy Award.
  • Brahms Piano Concerto No. 1 with André Previn and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Brahms Piano Concerto No.2 with André Previn and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1 and Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini with David Zinman and the Baltimore Symphony.
  • Frederic Chopin's Preludes, and Robert Schumann's Fantasie in a recording made in 2015 and released in 2016 on the Bridge label. The record was nominated for a Latin Grammy Award in the Best Classical Album for 2017.

Gutiérrez is a strong champion of contemporary American composers. He has performed works by William Schuman, André Previn, and George Perle. His most recent recording, "George Perle: A Retrospective," was named one of the ten best recordings of 2006 by The New Yorker.[36] Perle dedicated Nine Bagatelles to Gutiérrez.[37]


  1. ^ Muller, Alberto, "Horacio Gutiérrez: El Mejor Pianista del Mundo", Diario de Las Americas, Oct. 20. 2007
  2. ^ "The Leonard Bernstein Collection ca,1920-1989, Young People's Concerts Scripts: Young Performers: Pictures At An Exhibition The Library of Congress, Image". Retrieved 12 November 2011.
  3. ^ Bernheimer, Martin (24 August 1970). "Gutiérrez makes L.A. Debut". Los Angeles Times. His name is Horacio Gutiérrez. You won’t forget it! ..... Actually, spectacular covers only one facet of his performance.
  4. ^ M.D. Anderson Distinguished Professor of Music, Ward, Charles (26 June 1996). "Pianist Gets UH Post". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 16 July 2011.
  5. ^ University of Houston faculty, retrieved 2 October 2013
  6. ^ Manhattan School of Music, retrieved 30 May 2014
  7. ^ Schonberg, Harold C. (1987). The Great Pianists: From Mozart to the Present. New York: Simon & Schuster.
  8. ^ Keller, Johanna (22 August 2015). "Gutiérrez, Milanov dazzle Chautauqua audience". The Chautauquan Daily. Retrieved 24 August 2015. Gutiérrez has matured into a truly great pianist, one with a mastery of architecture, whose long-lauded technical prowess serves a penetrating musical intelligence.
  9. ^ Muller, Alberto "Horacio Gutierrez, el mejor pianista del mundo," Diario Las Américas, Oct. 20, 2007
  10. ^ Watts, James D. (4 September 2017). "ARTS: Review of Signature Symphony with Horacio Gutierrez". Tulsa World. Retrieved 1 November 2017. The pianist Horacio Gutierrez is often introduced as "one of the greatest pianists of our time," and his performance Saturday at the VanTrease PAC proved this description is no hyperbole..
  11. ^ MacMillan, Kyle (21 November 2010). "Last-minute pianist was key to fine CSO performance Read more: Last-minute pianist was key to fine CSO performance". The Denver Post. Retrieved 21 November 2010.
  12. ^ "Horacio Gutierrez Cancels". New York Times. 10 August 1993. Retrieved 21 November 2010. Because of a back injury, the pianist Horacio Gutierrez has canceled his appearances with the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra tonight and tomorrow at 8 P.M. at Avery Fisher Hall.
  13. ^ "Gutierrez Recital Canceled". New York Times. 17 April 1990. Retrieved 21 November 2010. The pianist Horacio Gutierrez has canceled his Carnegie Hall recital tomorrow because of bursitis.
  14. ^ Pittsburgh Symphony Radio Interview Pittsburgh Symphony Radio Pianist Horacio Gutierrez -QWOED, retrieved 29 September 2018
  15. ^ Pittsburgh Symphony Radio Interview Pittsburgh Symphony Radio Pianist Horacio Gutierrez - QWOED, retrieved 29 September 2018
  16. ^ Live from Lincoln Center, Mostly Mozart Festival, retrieved 11 November 2011
  17. ^ PBS Series:Live from Lincoln Center "Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center,", January 12, 1986, retrieved 12 November 2011
  18. ^ Chissell, Joan (25 November 1974). "Horacio Gutierrez Queen Elizabeth Hall". Times of London. His virtuosity is of the kind of which legends are made. ... he could become one of the very great pianists of the century.
  19. ^ Avery Fisher Artist Program "Avery Fisher Artist Program (Avery Fisher Prize Recipient)".(1982)
  20. ^ Holland, Bernard (10 November 1992). "Classical Music in Review". The New York Times. Retrieved 4 July 2011. …was a model of how intimacy can, through technique and musical intelligence, be translated for the benefit of large audiences in big halls.
  21. ^ Kaptainis, Arthur (28 April 2002). "Great Vibrations Under This Baton". The Montreal Gazette. Cuban pianist Horacio Gutiérrez realized all the regal splendor of the opening allegro and the pearly romance of the slow movement.
  22. ^ Johnson, Lawrence B. (5 June 1999). "Detroit Symphony ends the season with a flourish". The Detroit News. Retrieved 27 September 2013. From his eloquently ruminative turn through the concerto's solo opening phrase, Gutierrez displayed an unfailing sensibility for the psychological sunlight and shadows that flicker in this music's every facet.
  23. ^ Budmen, Lawrence (9 April 2011). "Cleveland Orchestra gives riveting performance". The Miami Herald. Retrieved 2 July 2011.
  24. ^ Lewis, Zachary (1 April 2011). "Faces new and familiar produce dynamic Cleveland Orchestra program". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved 2 July 2011.
  25. ^ Croan, Robert (14 April 2001). "Gutiérrez Ends Y Music Series in Grand Style". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 26 September 2013. Gutierrez is an artist who revels in the biggest, most technically demanding works in the keyboard repertory, and he carries it off magnificently.
  26. ^ Henken, John (27 March 2000). "Gutiérrez Makes Dynamic Return to L.A." Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2 July 2011.
  27. ^ Fisher, Gerald (19 August 2010). "Gutiérrez, Kalmar strike sparks in Brahms concerto". Chicago Classical Review. Retrieved 2 July 2011. ……coupled with a sterling performance of the Brahms First Piano Concerto.
  28. ^ Kozinn, Allan (22 April 1999). "Framing Flights of Fantasy With Sonata's Formality". The New York Times. Retrieved 4 July 2011.
  29. ^ Valdes, Lesley (22 July 1992). "Pianist Gutierrez Interprets Brahms Concerto at the Mann". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 17 July 2011.
  30. ^ Lindeman, Tim (3 July 2017). "Music review: Eastern Music Festival Orchestra performs impressive lineup". News and Record. Retrieved 1 November 2017. Horacio Gutiérrez’s playing of Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto in G Major, Op. 58. I don’t believe I have ever heard such an amazing performance. The pianist’s no-nonsense, no histrionics approach to the score made for a presentation marked by incredible brilliance, technical facility, and an inner sensitivity that was evident in every measure. His fiery, virtuosic playing was impressive; the score is chock full of rapid-fire scales and trills, and the pianist’s nimble execution of these was mesmerizing. But as impressive as his brilliant playing was, it was his extreme sensitive and subtle nuance that won me over. This was no more apparent than in the slow second movement, where Beethoven gives the piano simple melodies with basic accompaniment where Gutiérrez explored deep expressivity.
  31. ^ "Emmy Awards, PBS Series: Live From Lincoln Center, "Chamber Music Society with Irene Worth and Horacio Gutierrez",1986". Retrieved 12 November 2011.
  32. ^ Schonberg, Harold C. (1987). The Great Pianists: From Mozart to the Present. New York: Simon & Schuster.
  33. ^ Philadelphia Chamber Music Society Horacio Gutierrez, retrieved 29 September 2018
  34. ^ "Gramophone Magazine Editor's Choice September 2009".
  35. ^ Morrison, Bryce (September 2009). "Gramophone". Retrieved 17 July 2011. … Gutierrez unleashes some of the most thrilling virtuosity on record, storming the Second Concerto’s first movement development/cadenza in a manner that will make lesser pianists tremble. He is no less stunning in the less obviously demanding Third Concerto where once again his ebullience is complemented by flawless technique and musicianship..No recorded collection of the complete concertos, whether deleted or available, comes within distance of this.
  36. ^ Platt, Russell, Classical Notes Best Of 2006, The New Yorker, January 15, 2007
  37. ^ "George Perle A Life in Music". Archived from the original on 2011-07-23. Completed in 1999 and dedicated to Horacio Gutiérrez

External links[edit]