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Graduate Student Pianist Produces First CD

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Francisco Montero's CD cover

Francisco Montero began preparing for his career as a pianist when most kids his age were mastering reading, writing, and arithmetic.

“I have enjoyed performing since I was 7 and have known since then that this was my calling,” said Montero, who is pursuing a doctor of musical arts degree in piano performance under the guidance of Jose Ramon Mendez. “I enjoy sharing music with people and feel that it is my way of connecting with others. My ultimate career goal is to perform as much as I can, because it is what I enjoy the most.”

Montero recently took another step toward his goal of becoming a professional pianist with the production of his first CD, “New York Dreams.” Producing the CD was part of winning First Prize at the Windsor International Piano Competition in London in 2017. He also recently won the top prize at the ENKOR International Piano Competition, New York International Music Concours, Esteban Sanchez International Competition, 19th International Ciutat de Carlet Piano Competition, and the New York Artists International Competition, making his debut at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall as part of that award.

Montero said producing the CD was a learning experience, exposing him to many other factors and people involved in music production. “As musicians, we always focus on how we are sounding and how we can make it better. At first, I thought all that mattered was to make a good interpretation on both musical and artistic levels of the pieces,” he explained. “The role of the sound engineer, the person who writes the program notes, musicians who take time to hear your works and write a quote, and even the photo sessions are all important to weave a final product.”

Francisco has already performed at some of the most prestigious halls in the United States. In addition to Carnegie Hall, he has performed at Alice Tully Hall, Merkin Concert Hall at Kaufman Music Center, and Bruno Walter Auditorium at Lincoln Center, among others. He has also performed at concert halls in the United Kingdom, Germany, Austria, Italy, and most of the cities in his native Spain.

Born in 1991, Montero studied in Seville under the tutelage of Ignacio Torner and Tatiana Postnikova. In 2009, he moved to Badajoz to study with Alexander Kandelaki, one of the most prestigious pianists in Spain. He received a bachelor’s degree in music from the Conservatorio Superior de Música “Bonifacio Gil,” Badajoz, and a master of music from The Juilliard School, under the guidance of Julian Martin.

Francisco chose Penn State for his doctoral studies because of the program’s focus on performance, including six required recitals with different repertoire. “Julian Martin, my professor at Juilliard, recommended that I audition at Penn State to try to study with Dr. Jose Ramon Mendez. I had met Dr. Mendez before … and knew that he would be a wonderful mentor,” said Montero, who was awarded a graduate teaching assistantship in piano. “I am lucky to have him as my professor, as he is clearly one of the best Spanish pianists of today.”

Montero is represented by the KNS Classical label. His CD is available for purchase on Amazon and iTunes.

“I feel very fortunate to be part of the KNS Classical label, a company that has great artists on their roster,” he said.

For more information on Francisco, check out his bio on the KNS Classical website: