Chicago Tribune

“The greatly gifted young cellist, a Chicago area native who turned 21 late last year…who is fast making a name for himself around the country as a soloist, chamber musician and participant in community outreach, took the weather-related distractions like the cool-headed pro that he is…From the exhilarating way in which Cabezas launched the opening bars of Saint-Saens’ Cello Concerto No. 1, one sensed the soloist was not about to let a few chilly raindrops deter him from delivering a full-blooded account of this French Romantic staple…its particularly French qualities demand the kind of refined interpretive sensibility he appears to have at his fingertips….His playing combined polished execution with a burnished warmth of tone (especially in the lower strings) and subtlety of phrasing and inflection that allowed the music to make its modest expressive points convincingly over the distracting drumbeat of precipitation on the pavilion’s steel “sails.” There was real maturity in the cellist’s playing, enough to make one eager to hear him again, under kinder, indoor conditions.” (John von Rhein, July 3, 2014)

Chicago Classical Review

“…there was no doubt about the evening’s highlight, provided by local cellist Gabriel Cabezas…Just 21 years old, the Chicago-born Curtis graduate made an inspirational lakefront festival debut. With a warm, commodious sound and sterling technique, the cellist fairly vaulted through the myriad challenges of the outer movements with firmly projected tone and bracing clarity of articulation…Cabezas also showed himself fully in synch with the rhapsodic element, tackling Saint-Saëns’ lyrical lines in a sweet cantabile style.” (Lawrence A Johnson, July 3, 2014)

Cleveland Plain Dealer

“If any element of the program was traditional, it was the last one: Faure’s Piano Quartet No. 1, a tried-and-true entry from the standard repertoire. Still, not even that could fairly be called conventional, thanks to the heated performances by Rabinovich, cellist Gabriel Cabezas, and violinists Yura Lee and ChamberFest co-founder Diana Cohen. The combined talent of these artists was one thing, and a considerable thing at that. But what made the performance special, and the ideal finale to the series opener, was the feeling behind it. Eloquent, impassioned, cohesive: Faure never communicated so powerfully. Forget three. In this case, there were four who deserved to be celebrated.” (Zachary Lewis, June 20, 2014)

Seen and Heard

“The fiery opening was particularly exciting, performed by Gabriel Cabezas with hearty aggressiveness; a second helping was something to relish.” (Daniele Sahr, December 17, 2013)

LA Splash

“Cabezas was an intense soloist, but he also displayed a great deal of tenderness and sensitivity in his playing.” (Adam Dahlgren, December 11, 2013)

Chicago Sun-Times

‘It’s somewhere between living a dream and ‘what have I gotten myself into?’,” cellist Gabriel Cabezas said with a laugh from his cellphone when reached last Thursday in a waiting area at Philadelphia International Airport.

“You’ve worked for the opportunity to play concerts, travel, make debuts and forge artistic relationships all of your life, and then you wind up having a week like this, which is not something your cello teacher explains to you when you are 9 years old.” (Andrew Patner, December 6, 2013)

Chicago Tribune

“I was also pleased to catch up with two inordinately gifted young artists headed for fast-track careers, Canadian violinist Nikki Chooi and Chicago-born cellist Cabezas.  Both were joined on Monday evening by violist Matthew Lipman and Lepauw for a program of chamber music by Beethoven, Schumann and Alfred Schnittke.  Such was the finely honed unanimity the musicians brought to these scores that you could well have mistaken this ad hoc ensemble for a seasoned chamber group. Chooi, Lipman and Cabezas brought controlled intensity to the Schnittke, and unsettling if gripping essay in pain, bitterness and, at the end, numbed resignation.” (John von Rhein, September 10, 2013)

Interview with La Nacion, Costa Rica (in Spanish)

“Este joven de padre costarricense, quien ha tocado con ensambles tan prestigiosos como la Filarmónica de Nueva York, regresará al país para participar en el IV concierto de la temporada oficial de la Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional. La cita será el viernes y se repetirá el domingo en el Teatro Nacional.” (Yendry Miranda, May 16, 2013)

Prince Georgian

“This time Maestro Elliott lent his formidable musical talents in support of an amazing young soloist, Gabriel Cabezas … His technical proficiency and musicianship was partnered with the Philharmonic’s demonstrated musical ability to showcase and not overwhelm guest soloists. The brilliance of Mr. Cabezas’ playing electrified the audience.” (John Thompson, April 8, 2013)

New York Times

“One highlight was an impassioned rendition, by Gabriel Cabezas, of ‘Perpetual Motion’ from Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson’s ‘Lamentations’ for solo cello. Mr. Cabezas, a student at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia who won the senior division of the Sphinx Competition this year, was presented onstage with the Isaac Stern Award, offered annually to a particularly promising Sphinx prizewinner. (Stern, who died in 2001, taught several winners privately.)” (Vivien Schweitzer, October 10, 2012)

Oberlin Review

“In the last movement of Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson’s ‘Lamentations,’ the only unaccompanied piece of the program, 18-year-old Gabriel Cabezas raced through with reserve despite the piece’s perpetual motion.” (Daniel Hautzinger, October 4, 2012)

Boston Globe

“…the weekend’s highlight – a phenomenal performance of the Schoenberg String Trio.  Like many of the composer’s late 12-tone works, it carries a forbidding reputation.  Yet the three performers – violinist Ida Levin, violist Emily Deans, and cellist Gabriel Cabezas – played it with such confidence and so sure a grasp of its dramatic flow that its alleged thorniness disappeared.  What was left was a piece of great imagination and almost tragic poignancy and depth.” (David Weininger, August 2, 2011)


“Both pieces were performed beautifully, and the acoustics at St. Mark’s magnified the pure tones of the woodwinds as their sound bounced around the massive stone sanctuary. ”

“Electricity and passion for the music filled the cavernous space, and the audience erupted in a standing ovation lasting several minutes once the flying bows came to rest. Only the most talented, dedicated and passionate musicians could pull off such a feat; all the more astonishing considering the short amount of time to prepare compounded by a heavy burden of distractions.” (Sharon Torello, May 11, 2011)

Chicago Sun-Times Photo Essay