Acclaimed for her extraordinary lyricism, technique and versatility, multiple GRAMMY Award winner Sharon Isbin was named the 2020 Musical America Worldwide Instrumentalist of the Year, the first guitarist ever to receive the coveted honor in the award’s 59-year history.
Acclaimed as “the pre-eminent guitarist of our time,” multiple GRAMMY winner Sharon Isbin has been soloist with nearly 200 orchestras and has given sold-out performances in the world’s finest halls. Winner of the Toronto, Madrid, and Munich Competitions, Germany’s Echo Klassik, and Guitar Player’s Best Classical Guitarist awards, she created festivals for Carnegie Hall and NPR, and has appeared on All Things Considered, CBS Sunday, and the cover of 50 magazines. She performed in Scorsese’s Oscar-winning The Departed, the first internationally televised 9/11 memorial, the White House by invitation of President Obama, and as the only classical artist in the 2010 GRAMMY Awards. PBS performances include Tavis Smiley, the Billy Joel Gershwin Prize, and the acclaimed documentary Sharon Isbin: Troubadour, seen by millions around the globe and winner of an ASCAP Television Broadcast Award.
Isbin’s 30 recordings include the historic Alma Española with mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard, Sharon Isbin: 5 Classic Albums, Guitar Passions, her GRAMMY-winning Journey to the New World with guests Joan Baez and Mark O’Connor, which spent 63 consecutive weeks on top Billboard charts, and her Latin GRAMMY-nominated concerto disc with the New York Philharmonic, the orchestra’s only recording with guitar. Recent performance highlights include a commission for her by Carnegie Hall for its 125th anniversary; a 21-city Guitar Passions tour with jazz greats Stanley Jordan and Romero Lubambo; and collaborations with Sting, Steve Vai, and Amjad Ali Khan. She has premiered over 80 works composed for her by some of the world’s finest composers.
Isbin’s teachers include Andrés Segovia, Oscar Ghiglia, and Rosalyn Tureck, with whom she collaborated on landmark editions/recordings of the Bach lute suites. Author of the Classical Guitar Answer Book, she directs the guitar department at the Aspen Music Festival, and is the founding director of the guitar department at The Juilliard School.