Sharon Isbin – USA
7:30pm, Thursday, March 6, 2014
Renzo Piano Pavilion Auditorium
at the Kimbell Art Museum of Fort Worth
8:00pm Friday, March 7, 2014
University Park United Methodist Church
Acclaimed for her extraordinary lyricism, technique and versatility, multiple GRAMMY Award winner Sharon Isbin has been hailed as “the pre-eminent guitarist of our time”. She is also the winner of Guitar Player magazine’s “Best Classical Guitarist” award, the Madrid Queen Sofia and Toronto Competitions, and was the first guitarist ever to win the Munich Competition. She has given sold-out performances throughout the world in the greatest halls including New York’s Carnegie and Avery Fisher Halls, Boston’s Symphony Hall, Washington D.C.’s Kennedy Center, London’s Barbican and Wigmore Halls, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, Paris’ Châtelet, Vienna’s Musikverein, Munich’s Herkulessaal, Madrid’s Teatro Real, and many others. She has served as Artistic Director/Soloist of festivals she created for Carnegie Hall and the Ordway Music Theatre (St. Paul), her own series at New York’s 92nd Street Y, and the acclaimed national radio series Guitarjam. She is a frequent guest on national radio programs including All Things Considered and Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion. She has been profiled on television throughout the world, including CBS Sunday Morning and the A&E Network, and was a featured guest on Showtime Television’s international hit series The L Word. On September 11, 2002, Ms. Isbin performed at Ground Zero for the internationally televised memorial. In November 2009, she performed a concert at the White House by invitation of the President and First Lady. She performed as featured soloist in the soundtrack for Martin Scorsese’s Academy Award winning film, The Departed. She has been profiled in periodicals from People to Elle, The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, as well as on the covers of over 45 magazines. A documentary on Sharon Isbin, produced by Susan Dangel, will be completed in 2012.
Ms. Isbin’s catalogue of over 25 recordings—from Baroque, Spanish/Latin and 20th Century to crossover and jazz-fusion—reflects remarkable versatility. Her latest recording,
Other CDs include Artist Profile, Wayfaring Stranger with mezzo-soprano Susanne Mentzer, Greatest Hits (EMI/Virgin Classics), and Aaron Jay Kernis’ Double Concerto (Argo/Decca) with violinist Cho-Liang Lin and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra (SPCO) which received a 2000 GRAMMY nomination. Her eight best-selling titles for EMI/Virgin Classics include J.S. Bach Complete Lute Suites, and concerti by Joaquin Rodrigo which the composer praised as “magnificent”. She is also featured on the GRAMMY Foundation’s Smart Symphonies™ CD distributed to over five million families. Her recordings have received many other awards, including “Critic’s Choice Recording of the Year” in both Gramophone and CD Review, “Recording of the Month” in Stereo Review, and “Album of the Year” in Guitar Player.
Sharon Isbin has been acclaimed for expanding the guitar repertoire with some of the finest new works of the century. She has commissioned and premiered more concerti than any other guitarist, as well as numerous solo and chamber works. Her American Landscapes (EMI/Virgin Classics) with the SPCO conducted by Hugh Wolff is the first-ever recording of American guitar concerti and features works written for her by John Corigliano, Joseph Schwantner, and Lukas Foss. (In November 1995, it was launched in the space shuttle Atlantis and presented to Russian cosmonauts during a rendezvous with Mir.) She has also recorded the Schwantner with Leonard Slatkin and the St. Louis Symphony. In January 2000, she premiered the ninth concerto written for her: Concert de Gaudí by Christopher Rouse with Christoph Eschenbach and the NDR Symphony, followed by performances with Andrew Litton and the Dallas Symphony, and David Zinman at the Aspen Music Festival. Among the many other composers who have written for her are Joan Tower, David Diamond, Aaron Jay Kernis, Leo Brouwer, Howard Shore, Steve Vai, and Ned Rorem in whose documentary she is featured. In 2003 she premiered John Duarte’s Joan Baez Suite, and in 2005 she premiered a duo by rock guitarist Steve Vai in their joint concert in Paris’ Théâtre du Châtelet.
Ms. Isbin performs 60-100 concerts a season, and recent highlights have included tours with the Zurich Chamber Orchestra, the Tonkünstler Orchestra throughout Austria including Vienna’s Musikverein, recitals in New York’s 92nd St Y and Washington D.C.’s Kennedy Center, a week of concerto and recital performances presented by the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, and as soloist with the Minnesota Orchestra, Filarmonica Toscanini in Milan, and the MIDEM Classical Awards in Cannes.
Ms. Isbin has appeared as soloist with over 160 orchestras, including in the United States the New York Philharmonic, National Symphony, Baltimore, Detroit, Nashville, Houston, Dallas, Pittsburgh, Minnesota, St. Louis, New Jersey, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Phoenix, Utah, Memphis and Honolulu Symphonies, the Rochester, Brooklyn and Buffalo Philharmonics, as well as the St. Paul, New York and Los Angeles Chamber Orchestras.
Ms. Isbin has toured Europe annually since she was seventeen, and has also toured Canada, Japan and the Far East, New Zealand, South America, Mexico and Israel appearing in recital and as soloist with such orchestras as the Zurich, Scottish and Lausanne Chamber Orchestras, the London Symphony, Orchestre National de France, BBC Scottish, Lisbon Gulbenkian, Prague, Milan Verdi, Mexico City, Jerusalem and Tokyo Symphonies. Festival appearances include Mostly Mozart, Aspen, Ravinia, Grant Park, Interlochen, Santa Fe, Mexico City, Bermuda, Hong Kong, Montreux, Strasbourg, Paris, Athens, Istanbul, Prague, Ravenna and Budapest International Festivals.
As a chamber musician, Ms. Isbin has performed with Mark O’Connor, Steve Vai, Nigel Kennedy, Denyce Graves, Susanne Mentzer, the Emerson String Quartet and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, among others. She performed a “Guitar Summit” tour with jazz greats Herb Ellis, Stanley Jordan and Michael Hedges; she made trio recordings with Larry Coryell and Laurindo Almeida, and duo recordings with Carlos Barbosa-Lima. She collaborated with Antonio Carlos Jobim, and has shared the stage with luminaries from Aretha Franklin to Muhammad Ali.
In her spare time, Ms. Isbin enjoys trekking in the jungles of Latin America, motorcycling through Greek islands, cross-country skiing, snorkeling and backpacking.
Nocturnal after John Dowland, Op. 70 (1963)………………….Benjamin Britten (1913 – 1976)
*** In honor of Britten’s 100th Anniversary Season and 50th Anniversary of Nocturnal***
II. Very agitated
VII. Gently rocking
IX. Slow and quiet (Theme)
Nightshade Rounds (1979) ………………………………Bruce MacCombie (1943-2012)
(Written for Sharon Isbin)
*** In honor of Bruce MacCombie’s 70th Anniversary Season ***
Andecy ……………………………………………………..…….Andrew York (b. 1958)
Asturias.…….………………………………….…………………Isaac Albeniz (1860-1909)
(transcribed by Andrés Segovia)
*** In honor of Segovia’s 120th Anniversary Season ***
Suite BWV997 (A minor)………………………..……..………J.S. Bach (1685-1770)
Edited by Rosalyn Tureck/fingering by Sharon Isbin
*** In honor of Rosalyn Tureck’s 100th Anniversary Season***
La Catedral: ……………………………………………………..Agustin Barrios Mangoré (1885-1944)
Waltz Opus 8, #4
NOTES ON THE PROGRAM
BENJAMIN BRITTEN — Nocturnal after John Dowland, Op. 70 (1963)
Born November 22, 1913 Lowestoft; Died December 4, 1976 Aldeburgh
*** 100th Anniversary of Britten and 50th Anniversary of Nocturnal ***
The Nocturnal by Benjamin Britten is one of the major guitar works of this century. Sharon Isbin recorded it on her CD, Nightshade Rounds (EMI). Based upon an Elizabethan song by John Dowland for voice and lute called Come Heavy Sleep, the composition reflects a theme and variation form. The variations conjure up imaginative states of sleep: Musingly, Very agitated, Restless, Uneasy, March-like, Dreaming, Gently Rocking. They are followed by a Passacaglia, and finally, the gently and soothing theme inspired by the following text:
Come, heavy Sleep, the image of true Death,
And close up these my weary weeping eyes,
Whose spring of tears doth stop my vital breath,
And tears my heart with Sorrow’s sigh-swoll’n cries.
Come and possess my tired thought-worn soul,
That living dies, ‘til thou on me be stole.
BRUCE MacCOMBIE — Nightshade Rounds (1979)
Born 1943 Providence, RI; Died 2012 Amherst, MA
*** In honor of Bruce MacCombie’s 70th Anniversary ***
Bruce MacCombie received numerous awards and grants, including the Goddard Lieberson Fellowship by the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Sutherland Dows Fellowship, a grant from the Martha Baird Rockefeller Fund for Music, an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts in 1986 from the University of Massachusetts, as well as commissions from the Jerome Foundation, Atlanta Chamber Players, Brooklyn Philharmonic, Seattle Symphony, 20th Century Consort, Da Capo Chamber Players, Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival, and The Juilliard School, among others. He served on the faculty of Yale School of Music, as Vice President and Director of Publications for G.Schirmer, as Dean of The Juilliard School, Dean of the College of Fine Arts at Boston University, Executive Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center, and Associate Dean of the College of Humanities and Fine Arts at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Nightshade Rounds was written for Sharon Isbin, who gave its premiere in Alice Tully Hall in 1979, and recorded it for EMI. “The title is inspired by the deadly nightshade flower, which is both beautiful and poisonous,” MacCombie writes. “In the manner of emerging petals, the piece gradually unfolds in a series of virtuosic arpeggiated patterns. The title reflects a kind of circular play and shading of musical materials at work, perhaps best described verbally as a slow metamorphosis from stasis to motion or motion to stasis. Ms. Isbin’s extraordinary technical abilities and innate feel for balancing a sense of timelessness with movement-in-time played a large role in the shaping of this piece.”
ANDREW YORK – Andecy
With its brew of English, Irish, and early American folk influences, Andrew York’s haunting Andecy provides the bridge from folk music of the British Isles to that of New World on Sharon Isbin’s Journey to the New World (SONY).
The composer writes:
In Andecy, I returned to my earliest musical influences of childhood, which were early-American folk music (largely frontier and civil war), as well as English and Irish folk tunes. My father and uncle are folk musicians and the hundreds of songs they performed were a rich source of inspiration. At this time I was limiting my harmonies in composition to this framework but striving for strong emotional content within it. In 1986 while staying in a small French village named Andecy, I improvised the foundation for this piece.
ISAAC ALBÉNIZ –Asturias
Born May 29, 1860 in Camprodón, Lérida; Died May 18, 1909 in Cambô-les-Bains
*** In honor of Segovia’s 120th Anniversary ***
Isaac Albéniz was born in Camprodón. His exuberant talent as a pianist was evident almost from infancy. He gave his first concert when he was four years old, and at six he studied in Paris with Marmontel. His concerts were eagerly awaited and some newspapers called him the “Spanish Rubenstein.” By petition of Debussy, Fauré and other distinguished composers, the French government presented Albéniz the medal of the Legion of Honor.
Like a traveling troubadour Albéniz sings of his beautiful native land, its scenery and its changing moods. Originally for piano, his gypsy-inspired Asturias is from the Suite espagnole. This transcription by Andrés Segovia is one of his most famous.
JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH – Suite BWV 997 (A minor)
Edited by Rosalyn Tureck/fingering by Sharon Isbin
Born March 21, 1685 in Eisenach; Died July 28, 1750 in Leipzig
*** In honor of Rosalyn Tureck’s 100th Anniversary Season ***
Johann Sebastian Bach’s lute suites BWV 995, 996, 997 and 1006a are among the most musically rewarding baroque works in the classical guitar repertoire. This edition of BWV 997 was prepared by Bach scholar and keyboard artist Rosalyn Tureck in collaboration with Sharon Isbin, and published by G. Schirmer, Inc.
The guitar, a close relative of the lute, is well suited to the delicate textures and part-writing of these suites. Since Bach was an avid practitioner of transcription, performing these works on the guitar is ideologically compatible with the composer’s own tradition of arranging music. Two of these suites, in fact, are Bach’s arrangements of works he composed c.1720 in Cothen, Germany: BWV 995 first appeared as the unaccompanied cello suite BWV 1011, and his violin partita BWV 1006 was the forerunner of suite BWV 1006a. Although these four works are commonly classified as lute suites, Bach’s intended instrument of performance is clear only in title page of BWV 995.
The earliest surviving manuscript of BWV 997 was written between 1738 and 1740 by Bach’s student Johann Friedrich Agricola; its title-page, added later by C.P.E. Bach, specifies ‘Clavier’, thus suggesting the harpsichord as an instrument of performance. Other eighteenth-century manuscripts of this suite include Clavicembalo, Cembalo Solo and Klavier in their titles. A version of BWV 997 in French lute tablature by Johann Christian Weyrauch (1694-1771) omits that suite’s magnificently intricate Fugue and brilliant Double, perhaps because of challenges of tuning and register.
In editing this suite for guitar, Rosalyn Tureck and I have chosen to explore the instrument’s unique and varied resources in ways which effectively express the structural and stylistic integrity of Bach’s music. Our goal has not been to imitate another instrument, such as the lute or harpsichord, given the differences of technique, attack, resonance, and dynamics.
Flexibility is imperative in transcription, as Bach demonstrated abundantly in his own arrangements. In this edition, for example, I sometimes finger a trill on one string using left hand slurs as a lutenist would. In other instances, I trill ‘cross-string’, on two strings with the right hand articulating each note, thereby creating a legato similar to the undampened resonance of a harpsichord, coupled with the dynamic flexibility of a piano. These two techniques of trilling produce very different textures, and their application, in appropriate contexts, increases the possibilities of musical expression. Similarly, cross-string fingerings, combined with the natural full- bodied resonance of the modern day guitar, can be used in passagework to recall the cascading, overlapping sonorities of the lute, harpsichord, and baroque guitar. The clarity and vibrancy these fingerings produce help to create fluid passagework and legato phrasing; they also reinforce contrapuntal textures and underscore structural concepts of phrasing.
In this edition, musical structure, manuscript notations, and baroque performance practice inform all decisions regarding articulation, embellishment, dynamics, tempo rhythm, and phrasing. Original embellishment markings have been observed, and, in accordance with the practices of the time, new embellishments have been added and are varied in section repeats.
© Sharon Isbin
AGUSTÍN BARRIOS (MANGORÉ) – La Catedral: Andante religioso, Allegro solemne; Waltz Opus 8, #4
Born May 23, 1885 in San Bautista de las Misiones, Paraguay; Died August 7, 1944 in San Salvador
Although Agustín Barrios is known today almost solely to devotees of the guitar, he was one of the most colorful musicians of his age or any other. Born in Paraguay in 1885, this virtuoso performer was for many years the outstanding Latin American guitarist and one of the instrument’s modern pioneers. His spirit was ebullient and bohemian. “I am a brother to those medieval troubadors,” he once wrote, “who in their glories and despairs suffered such romantic madness.” Barrios identified with the Indian culture of Paraguay, from which he was partly descended. He adopted the name Mangoré, after a legendary Guarani chief, and sometimes performed in full Indian costume.
Barrios’ compositions, over a hundred in number and all for the guitar evoke three influences: the music of Bach, whom he revered; certain nineteenth-century Romantic composers, particularly Chopin; and Latin American folk music. La Catedral is said to be inspired by hearing the music of Bach played in a cathedral. In the Waltz, we hear instances of the first two of these, especially the Chopinesque style in the arcing melodic line and running figuration of its principal theme. © Paul Schiavo