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Sharon Isbin

One of the best guitarists in the world.
  Boston Globe
She gets nuances out of the classical guitar few guitarists since Segovia have matched. Everything she performs bespeaks perfect technical control yet suggests spontaneous improvisation—the art that conceals art.
  Chicago Tribune

Press Reviews

Features   |   Reviews   |   Magazine Covers
Alma Española Alma Española: Sharon Isbin & Isabel Leonard
2018 GRAMMY AWARD for Producer of the Year, Classical / David Frost
Rave reviews from Gramophone, BBC Music, American Record Guide, Opera News, Classical Guitar Magazine, Acoustic Guitar, Apple Music and many more...
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The Chautauquan Daily The Chautauquan Daily
August 20, 2018
CSO displays “unity and depth”
Isbin receives raves as soloist with the Chautauqua Symphony performing the concerto written for her by John Corigliano: “Gorgeous, shimmering focus ... the lion's share of the plaudits on this occasion go to Isbin. Brilliant, poetic, resonant: Her musical voice is impossible to resist ... a tough act for anyone to follow.”
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MusicWeb International MusicWeb International
May 2018
“This album communicates the essence of the Spanish ‘soul’ superbly, perhaps more powerfully than any other recording of modern ‘classical’ song ... Isbin is one of our age’s finest guitarists, with a well-deserved reputation as an interpreter of the Spanish guitar tradition. Together they make a kind of dream team ... fascinating and rewarding programme.”
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BBC Music Magazine BBC Music
January 2018
Alma Española
FIVE STARS ***** “Vivaciously, seductively idiomatic ... thoroughly entrancing ... Isbin’s range of color in the Siete canciones populares españolas masterfully matches the twists and turns of Leonard’s bewitching voice. With nuanced performances of songs and solo guitar pieces woven through the collection, this is an absolute joy.”
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Acoustic Guitar Acoustic Guitar
January 2018
Alma Española: Sharon Isbin & Isabel Leonard
Virtuosos join forces for powerful homage to Spain’s cante jondo
"Intensely soulful vocal prowess ... exquisite solo guitar. A classical music gem from beginning to end.”
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Gramophone Gramophone
October 2017
Alma Española
“Leonard and Isbin swing with infectious enthusiasm ... Their performance of Rodrigo’s Aranjuez, ma pensée is a study in exquisite beauty ... each arc of Leonard’s phrasing telling a story of its own, Isbin’s guitar delivering spectacular rhapsodic riffs ... The solo tracks are an audiophile’s dream ... Isbin imbues each tone with its own special beauty without restricting flow, creating a resonance that hangs in the air like aural perfume.”
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The Register-Guard The Register Guard
February 19, 2017
Performances by Eugene Symphony, guitarist Sharon Isbin paint beautiful musical picture
“Rouse’s Concert di Gaudí displayed the composer’s genius as an orchestral colorist... Isbin spun out an ornate yet poignantly expressive melodic line. And in the finale’s cadenza, the guitarist’s nuanced sensitivity and virtuosity commanded the listener’s undivided attention ... exquisitely delivered encore ... much-deserved standing ovation.”
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Lansing City Pulse City Pulse
February 15, 2017
Lansing Symphony, Sharon Isbin serve up smashing night of Latin music
“The centerpiece of the night was the famous Concierto de Aranjuez by Spanish composer Joaquín Rodrigo, with Sharon Isbin, arguably the world’s foremost classical guitarist. The pairing produced one of the orchestra’s most spellbinding concerto performances in recent memory. The performance started with technical mastery and quickly rose to the level of a spiritual experience... Isbin has a surgeon’s concentration, a rocket scientist’s skills and a troubadour’s heart.”
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Palm Beach Daily News Palm Beach Daily News
January 19, 2017
Mezzo-soprano, guitarist delight in Four Arts concert
“...a journey to Spain in the company of two master storytellers, mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard and guitarist Sharon Isbin. Isbin is, simply put, one of the greatest artists of her generation—a guitarist with the highest technical and interpretive skills... Isbin’s guitar crackled with electricity. Leonard could bring us to tears... This performance was the finest this reviewer has ever experienced. A treasurable evening.”
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The Rutland Herald Rutland Herald
February 2, 2016
Guitarist and VSO Pack the Paramount
“The concerto by Chris Brubeck takes off, right from the beginning, with Isbin delivering rapid-fire virtuosity with infectious themes ... The slow middle is a tender jazz-based tribute to Dave Brubeck, and Isbin played with heartfelt warmth and tenderness... Isbin also wowed and touched with Joaquìn Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez. She was truly charismatic in the virtuosic first and third movements, and eloquently tender in the gorgeous slow middle section. Isbin is much more than a virtuoso; she is an artist of depth.”
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The Washington Post The Washington Post
October 13, 2015
Guitarist Isbin Shines at Intimate Recital
“Isbin is a master molder of color, balance, equilibrium and resonance. Her dynamic range extends from the barely audible to a hearty mezzo-forte that, in this context, seemed to roar. She speaks as eloquently in thin whispers as in bold, vibrant tones, and the audience’s stillness spoke volumes about Isbin’s expressive powers.”
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The Washington Post The Washington Post
October 8, 2015
Sharon Isbin constituted luxury programming
The Washington Post exclaims, Sharon Isbin “offers an intense, elastic sound, resilient and nuanced and controlled and brought across in all its detail” in her first of three performances with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC. “The orchestra was definitely crisper during the first half of the program... thanks to the presence of Sharon Isbin, arguably today’s most famous active guitarist.”
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Sharon Isbin: Troubadour, American Record Guide, September/October 2015 American Record Guide
September/October 2015
Sharon Isbin: Troubadour
“A wonderful documentary of an artist at the peak of her career. ... Isbin is extraordinarily articulate and charismatic, and as glamourous and beautiful as ever—and clearly deeply devoted to her art. ... Sound and video on the Blu-ray are exceptional, and the production superb. If you only know a few of Isbin’s contributions, you’ll find this a revelation. If you already know what a treasure she is, this will be a delightful hour.”
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Sharon Isbin: Troubadour, Gramaphone, August 2015
August 2015
Sharon Isbin: Troubadour
“Winning documentary ... a testament to Isbin’s curiosity, imagination and mesmerizing command.”
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November 10, 2014
Sharon Isbin brings together an astonishing diversity of music in a five-disc set.
“Isbin’s performances are faithful and transcendent, evoking an almost otherworldly allure. The variety of textures ranges from solo guitar to full orchestral guitar concertos, adding up to create a testament to Isbin’s flexibility and mastery of classical guitar repertoire in all genres, old and new.”
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The Boston Musical Intelligencer The Boston Musical Intelligencer
September 29, 2014
Being Sharon Isbin
“Like Isbin’s playing, the documentary and its editing flow effortlessly. It helps that the guitarist has led a remarkable life and the wealth of cameos make this a delightful portrait. With the nuances and sensitivity of her playing, she is fluent in making music that touches hearts and minds, reaching wide audiences and recruiting worldwide to the joys and delights of the guitar.”
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Sharon Isbin: Troubadour (2014) - documentary excerpt Documentary Film Sharon Isbin: Troubadour
A one-hour documentary produced by Susan Dangel
Guests include Martina Navratilova, Michelle Obama, Joan Baez, Steve Vai, Stanley Jordan, Garrison Keillor, David Hyde Pierce, Janis Ian, Lesley Gore, Mark O’Connor, Tan Dun, John Corigliano, Christopher Rouse, Joan Tower, Leonard Slatkin, Paul Winter, and more, with Isbin’s performances showcased from international concert stages to the GRAMMYs and White House.
Review Quotes
Guitar World Guitar World
March 2, 2014
Guitar Passions Featuring Sharon Isbin, Stanley Jordan & Romero Lubambo
“These three amazing instrumentalists were meant to play together. The chemistry between them is so genuine it was evident they were communicating at another level ... like a love triangle of soul mates who finish each other’s sentences.”
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SoundPress.net SoundPress.net
February 3, 2014
Guitar Greats Grace the Stage at the MPAC
“Guitar Greats Grace the Stage at the MPAC Billed as Guitar Passions—Sharon Isbin, Stanley Jordan and Romero Lubambo—presented a stellar set of Brazilian and Latin flavored music. All three players are guitar geniuses...a world class concert from three world class musicians.”
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The Washington Post The Washington Post
March 17, 2013
Guitar Virtuoso Sharon Isbin Offers an Evening to Remember
“It would be nearly impossible to find an American classical guitarist more influential than Sharon Isbin. Her jaw-dropping technique and lyrical interpretations have helped bring the guitar into the classical mainstream, and a rather spectacular array of new masterworks has been written expressly for her ... Isbin conjures an extraordinary palette of sound.”
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Sharon Isbin & Friends: Guitar Passions, Reviews Sharon Isbin & Friends: Guitar Passions, Reviews
Billboard Top Classical Charts
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Guitar World Gramophone
November 2011
Guitar Passions
“A true symphony of hearts and minds built on the cantus firmus of Isbin’s passion for musical friendship.”
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Guitar World Guitar World
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Sharon Isbin Introduces ‘Guitar Passions’, Featuring Steve Vai, Nancy Wilson, Steve Morse and More
“Grammy Award-winning guitarist Sharon Isbin is truly a master ... her new album elevates classical guitar to a whole new level. She masterfully captures what’s unique about each performer’s personality and style and melds it into a new guitarified creation.”
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The New York Times The New York Times
Monday, May 16, 2011
Classical Guitarist Making Herself Heard
“... poetry and warmth of the guitar’s timbre: her sound was rounded and buttery throughout ...
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Journey to the New World Reviews Sharon Isbin, Journey To The New World, Reviews
Best Instrumental Soloist Performance (without Orchestra)
63 Consecutive Weeks Billboard Top Classical Crossover Chart
#1 Classical Bestseller Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, iTunes
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Nashville SCENE Nashville SCENE
October 22, 2009
Classical guitarist Sharon Isbin shines in performance with Nashville Symphony
“Guitar with orchestra has historically been an unusual pairing, but six-string virtuoso Sharon Isbin is changing that...”
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Klassik-CDs Audio
August 2009
CD of the Month, Sharon Isbin, Gitarre, Sony Classical
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el Nuevo Herald el Nuevo Herald
Publicado el martes 21 de julio del 2009, Miami
Sharon Isbin, la intimidad de la guitarra
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The Miami Herald Miami Herald
July 18, 2009
A masterful Isbin reigns over the classical guitar
“Sharon Isbin, who performed Thursday in Coral Gables, is the instrument's reigning star.”
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Giornale di Sicilia Giornale di Sicilia
June 1, 2008, Palermo, Italy
La chitarrista Isbin strega il pubblico del Politeama
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Pioneer Press St. Paul Pioneer Press
September 18, 2008
Guitarist Sharon Isbin creates rare, totally hushed moment
“Her first performance Thursday ... created one of those rare, totally hushed moments that don’t occur often enough in the concert hall.”
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Denver Post Denver Post
March 6, 2008
Guitarist Isbin a knockout with CSO
“In what proves to be a knock-out combination, she merges extraordinary technical facility with a clean, lithe style, and, perhaps most important, the evocative power of a keen storyteller.”
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The Gramophone Gramophone
February 2007 & April 2005
Sharon Isbin: The Guitarist on a Real Partnership of Music and Technology
“... it’s unusual these days for a major artist and a major orchestra to achieve a genuine recording first in main-stream repertoire.”
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Fort Worth Star-Telegram Fort Worth Star-Telegram
March 9, 2007
Something special
Classical guitar master Sharon Isbin shines at Scott

“Impeccable voicing and a bell-like clarity added excitement to the samba rhythms of Isaias Savio’s Batucada ...”
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Dallas Morning News Dallas Morning News
March 8, 2007
Isbin fills Caruth with refined guitar playing
“Ms. Isbin brought the loveliest improvisational feeling to Enrique Granados’ Spanish Dance No. 5 and generously expressive pliancy to Francisco Tárrega’s Recuerdos de la Alhambra.”
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Christopher Rouse Concert de Gaudí, Tan Dun Concerto for Guitar & Orchestra Sharon Isbin: Christopher Rouse Concert de Gaudí, Tan Dun Concerto for Guitar & Orchestra (Yi2), Reviews
Best Classical Contemporary Composition for Christopher Rouse
Concert de Gaudí for Guitar & Orchestra
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Boston Globe Boston Globe
February 13, 2001
Sharon Isbin plays beyond virtuosity
“... her playing connects in ways that are deeply instinctual and natural, drawing one into the moment like the best storytelling does.”
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Chicago Tribune Chicago Tribune
June 5, 2000
Sharon Isbin at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall
“A journey of a thousand colors begins with the artistry of Sharon Isbin

Her obviously deep love of the instrument and its traditions is matched by her flawless intonation, clarity of articulation and ability to spin a warm singing line as subtly and sensitively as any classical recital singer.”
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Sharon Isbin Sitting with Guitar



Guitarist Acoustic Classic (France) June 2009


Klassik-CD Des Monats, August 2010

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Fanfare May/June 2004

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