First Latin American clarinetist to record under the distinguished British label “Clarinetclassics” Jorge Montilla is internationally considered one of the best clarinetists in Latin-America and one of the world’s best Eb Clarinet players. He has an extensive repertoire including the major works for the clarinet and he has been appointed to premiere solo works by important composers such as Paul Desenne, Diana Arismendi, Roberto Cedeño Laya, Fidel Rodríguez, Mischa Zupko, Alfred Prinz, Ken Froelich, Alexandre Eisenberg, Víctor Varela and Efrain Amaya.
Montilla is one of the many fine musicians produced by Venezuela’s “El Sistema”, founded by José Antonio Abreu also known as the Foundation for the National Network of Youth and Children´s Orchestras of Venezuela. El Sistema is a state foundation which oversees Venezuela’s 125 youth orchestras. Mr. Montilla is a graduate of Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where he studied with Howard Klug. Other notable teachers include Luis Rossi, Eli Eban, James Campbel, Walter Boeykens, Antony Pay and Ricardo Morales.
Former Principal Clarinet of the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra, Montilla has appeared as soloist with the most important Venezuelan orchestras, the Indiana University Chamber Orchestra, the Vale Veneto Festival Orchestra in Brazil, the Youth Orchestra of Peru, the Longwood Symphony Orchestra, the Nuevo Mundo Festival Orchestra and the Longy School of Music Conservatory orchestra. He has given recitals in important halls of Venezuela as well as in the USA, Martinique, France, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, China, Peru, Spain, Mexico, Italy and Brazil together with leading important soloists and chamber music groups.
As a founding member and Artistic Director of the Caracas Clarinet Quartet, Mr. Montilla has concertized extensively throughout the world (South America, Europe, Asia and the USA), he has recorded two CDs (the second featuring Paquito D’Rivera) and his many pieces for the CCQ have made him one of the pre-eminent composers/arrangers for clarinet ensemble today.
Montilla’s pedagogical experience includes teaching at Arizona State University and he has been Chairman of the Clarinet Department at the Conservatory of Music Simón Bolívar and clarinet professor at the Latin American Academy of Venezuela. He has also given master-classes, clinics and workshops for important universities and music conservatories in Colombia, Chile, Barbados, Sta. Lucia, USA, Puerto Rico, China, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Peru, Spain, Mexico and Brazil.
At the present, Jorge Montilla is Clarinet Professor at Longy School of Music of Bard College and Visiting Assistant Professor of Clarinet at University of Iowa School of Music. Jorge Montilla represents Rossi Clarinets, D’Addario Reeds, Clarinetclassics, Gao’s accessories and BG ligatures. His compositions and arrangements are published by Woodwindiana Editions, USA.
He is also a columnist for the International Clarinet Association’s magazine “The Clarinet” and keeps a hectic international career as soloist and clinician.
…Jorge Montilla with an exciting performance of the Lutoslawsky’s Dance Preludes… Penelope Knuth, The Clarinet, February/March, 1991.
…That’s scary Eb playing!… Daniel Granados, The Clarinet, 1993
…Montilla’s arrangements to the Caracas Clarinet Quartet: Perhaps the repertoire of the future… Daniel Granados, The Clarinet, 1993
…A particular highlight throughout the concert was the Eb playing of Jorge Montilla. His musicianship, tone, and intonation on this notoriously difficult instrument were a wonder to the ear… David Niethamer, Principal Clarinet, Richmond Symphony, Washington DC, April 1999.
… Montilla’s arrangements were crafted with such skill to the Caracas Clarinet Quartet that the music sounded easily idiomatic for these instruments… Joan Reinthaler, The Washington Post Saturday, April 10, 1999.
…Mr. Montilla is a splendid, experienced player. He displayed a natural, effortless virtuosity and total command of his instrument’s tonal and expressive resources, communicating strong affinity for the characteristic rhythm, creating atmosphere and mood… Edith Eisler, New York Concert Review Inc, Summer 2003.
…Montilla’s clarinet caressed the music which unfolded most attractively… Peter Jacobi, The Herald Times, Bloomington Indiana, October 2003.
…Montilla performs with great enthusiasm and knows how to make the repertoire of his native continent jump off the page with effortless technique, subtle dance accents and tasteful vibrato… Patrick Hanudel, American Record Guide, July/Aug 2010.
…Venezuelan Clarinetist Jorge Montilla shines again with his extraordinary “La Revoltosa”. His sound is beautiful at all times and the performance is both natural and portraits great musical conviction… Montilla’s Eb Clarinet playing is just brilliant. Jorge’s own piece “Registro de Pajarillo” is a jewel. From the first notes one is captivated with the music and Jorge’s both sweet timbre and musical solvency on the Eb. This piece should be mandatory in the repertory for the Eb clarinet. Marco Mazzini. Clariperu, Nov 2011.