In 2009, she won a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Latin American Grammy for "Inca Dances," and was featured in a PBS documentary on her collaboration with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. Clearly, Gabriela is an artist in the full bloom of her creative powers, and one of the major new musical voices of her generation.She is also a wonderfully rich, realized human being, without a zot of the pretention or preciousness that could easily accompany her rare musical gifts, as you'll see for yourself, in this conversation with Gabriela over a long dinner at my home in Richmond, California, in July 2009.
YO: As ignorant as I am about what you've done musically, I do have this strong sense that you are one of those rare people who can successfully integrate your individual personal genius with your energy and your actions, creating a great...
GLF: I think a lot of it comes from discomfort, and discomfort with accepting my training in music, accepting the vision that other people had for me, of music. I didn't disrespect my teachers necessarily. For a long time I thought I wasn't good enough, that I didn't fit in in a certain way. Then, I started to start to live with the discomfort and say this discomfort is good, this is who I am, so I'm in that feeling all the time now and it's just a rewiring. It's not changing your feelings, it's changing your intellectual appraisal of it.
I think it's very important for teachers to do to young developing spirits, when they're creative or intellectual -- to trust their instincts and to go deep with it. We all have these ways of bucking the norm, we all have this potential. I got lucky in that whatever risk-taking spirit I have in me - I just chucked the normal path very suddenly, very early, and almost totally. Although I love certain composers in classical music. I'm not a total classical music aficionado, which is a great irony. It's where I could get the best training, but I had to fit it into a different kind of mold.