Multiple Grammy winner Sharon Isbin will perform the world premiere of Karen LeFrak’s Miami Concerto for Guitar & Orchestra with the Miami Symphony Sunday January 14 at the Arsht Center‘s Knight Concert Hall, 6pm. The program also includes Mendelssohn’s Overture Calm Sea & Prosperous Voyage and Elgar’s Enigma Variations under the direction of Eduardo Marturet. Tickets are $39-$139 and available here.
The concert’s centerpiece is LeFrak’s guitar concerto, an homage to the musical heritage of Miami with influences from Africa, Europe, and the indigenous peoples of Latin America. Earlier this season, Isbin performed the first movement, “Bailamos” with the National Symphony for an enthusiastic audience of over 10,000 on the U.S. Capitol Lawn. Drawing on guaguancó, one of many subgenres of Cuban rumba, “Bailamos” is followed by a tango-inspired second movement and “Festivo” finale in the rhythm of bembé. Transporting the listener to Miami’s South Beach, catchy melodies flow over a continuous driving rhythm of claves, congas and bongos, with virtuoso 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 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.
Isbin is the cover story of Acoustic Guitar magazine’s Nov/Dec 2023 issue, the only classical guitarist ever featured on the publication’s cover in their 33-year history. Enjoy the 7-page article here
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 work by Pulitzer Prize-winner 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 of North Indian ragas 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.