Gabriela Montero has come a long way since her parents placed a toy piano in her playpen when she was seven months old... Listen to The Purple Vespertine on RTÉ lyric fm above.

Since then the Venezuelan pianist has carved out a stellar international career, playing as a soloist with the top orchestras and conductors in the world, and as a recitalist, most notably with French cellist Gautier Capucon.

But it is her unique way of engaging with audiences that has won her friends and fans worldwide.

As an encore, she invites audience members to suggest popular local tunes, which she then takes as the basis for impromptu improvisations, as a little parting gift to her audience.

She has created something one-off, especially for them.

Check out this clip of the fabulous Gabriela taking Percy French for a trot around the block, recorded in the National Concert Hall, Dublin in February 2020.

This month she celebrated her 50th birthday, and we can hear some of her stunning recordings, both straight up classical, and a little left of centre.

The Purple Vespertine, RTE lyric fm, Friday, 9.30 pm and Saturday & Sunday, 10pm - listen back here.  Gabriela Montero also features in The Lyric Concert live on RTÉ lyric fm on Friday, May 29th at - listen back here.