Sharon Isbin photo: J. Henry Fair


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Grammy Winner Sharon Isbin to Perform World Premiere of Karen LeFrak’s Bailamos from her Miami Guitar Concerto with the National Symphony Sunday Sept 3 on the Capitol Lawn Labor Day Concert – Free

Multiple Grammy winner Sharon Isbin will perform the world premiere of Karen LeFrak’s Bailamos from her Miami Guitar Concerto with the National Symphony under the direction of Enrico Lopez-Yañez on Sunday Sept 3 at 8pm on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol.  This free concert will also include works by Price/Still, Ellington, Brahms, and Strauss among others.

The centerpiece of the concert, LeFrak’s Bailamos (Spanish for “Let’s Dance”) is the title of the concerto’s first movement which draws on the Guaguanco, (Gwag-wan’-ko), one of the many subgenres of the Cuban Rumba dance. The work pays homage to the musical heritage of Miami – a heritage infused with influences from Africa, Europe, and the indigenous peoples of Latin America. Transporting the listener to Miami’s South Beach, catchy melodies flow over a continuous driving rhythm, with fast finger work from the guitar, inviting all to the dance.

Hailed as “one of the best guitarists in the world” (Boston Globe) and celebrated as “the pre-eminent guitarist of our time,” Sharon Isbin has been the soloist with over 200 orchestras, premiered over 80 works written for her by some of the world’s finest composers, and has given sold-out performances in celebrated halls across 40 countries. Isbin, the 2020 Musical America Instrumentalist of the Year, was inducted into the 2023 Guitar Foundation of America Hall of Fame and received their Artistic Achievement Award in June.

Recent highlights include a 21-city Guitar Passions tour with jazz greats Stanley Jordan and Romero Lubambo, tours with India’s legendary Amjad Ali Khan, a collaboration with Sting, triumphant performances with the Detroit, Montreal and National Symphonies, as well as sold-out concerts at the Kennedy Center, Kimmel Center, and Carnegie Hall. Other recent projects include a quintet by Joseph Schwantner for Sharon and the Pacifica Quartet which they premiered in New York last fall: “The evening was a triumph for Isbin as she debuted yet another work and burnished her legacy of premieres of new music by venerated contemporary composers.”

Isbin’s catalogue of over 35 albums has sold over a million copies and reflects her remarkable versatility. Her latest world premiere recordings of works written for her include: Affinity, featuring composers from three continents including Chris Brubeck’s acclaimed guitar concerto, and Strings for Peace, an album in the tradition of ragas of North Indian classical music with sarod master Amjad Ali Khan.  Both groundbreaking releases vastly enrich major new repertoire for the guitar and were named Best of 2020 by SiriusXM, NPR, and multiple media. Her recent Souvenirs of Spain & Italy with the Pacifica Quartet debuted at #1 on Amazon and #2 on Billboard, her Grammy-winning Journey to the New World with guest Joan Baez spent 63 consecutive weeks on top Billboard charts, and her Latin Grammy nominated Rodrigo Aranjuez with the New York Philharmonic is their only recording with guitar.

PBS specials include the Billy Joel Gershwin Prize, and the acclaimed documentary Sharon Isbin: Troubadour, seen by millions around the globe and winner of ASCAP’s Television Broadcast Award. Troubadour paints the portrait of a trailblazing performer and teacher who over the course of her career has broken through numerous barriers to rise to the top of a traditionally male-dominated field.  She directs guitar departments she created at the Aspen Music Festival and The Juilliard School.

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By Porter