What's On Your iPod? Grammy Winning Classical Guitarist Sharon Isbin

Sharon Isbin is a multiple GRAMMY Award winner and has been called "the pre-eminent guitarist of our time." It would take all day to list the awards and honors she's won and her now legendary live performances are nothing short of magical. Currently she has a new album entitled "Sharon Isbin and Friends: Guitar Passions" which features duets with a vast array of superstars from across the musical universe. BWW Classical chatted with her about what she's currently listening to and the list was as wonderfully eclectic as Sharon's repertory.

What's On Your iPod? Grammy Winning Classical Guitarist Sharon Isbin

"My December 14, 2013 solo show at New York's 92nd St Y falls on the 100th birthday of my mentor Rosalyn Tureck, and in her honor I'll perform one of the Bach lute suites we transcribed. To inspire me, I'm listening to her brilliant "Bach Goldberg Variations" (VAI), and her ethereal "Well-Tempered Clavier" (DG).

When in the mood for Spain, it's Alicia de Larrocha's magical Granados and Albeniz. And Chopin? Arthur Rubinstein's "Nocturnes"!

Looking ahead to a 20-concert Guitar Passions tour that kicks off in January, I'm listening to the guitarists who will join me and who were guests on "Sharon Isbin & Friends: Guitar Passions" (Sony): Brazilian Romero Lubambo and jazz legend Stanley Jordan. Romero can out bossa-nova anyone, and his improvisatory skills are irresistible. Stanley wows with his innovative tapping technique, as if he's grown another hand (I still can't figure out how he does it!), as evident in his recent "Friends" album.

Nancy Wilson from Heart recorded her sensuous "Dreamboat Annie" with me on "Guitar Passions", so no surprise that I relax hearing Heart's CD by that title, as well as their "Stairway to Heaven" from the 2012 Kennedy Center Honors. A knockout!

Rocker Steve Vai gets my heart beating faster (so does Pink and Melissa Etheridge) with his jaw-dropping finger work, like the classic "Fire Garden". Steve is among my favorite musician pals, and is a guest on a new one-hour documentary just completed, "Sharon Isbin: Troubadour" (stay tuned...)

When I really want to kick back, I revel in Loreena McKennitt ("Mask and Mirror" and "The Book of Secrets" - check it out), Nana Mouskouri, and Cesaria Evoro from Cape Verde. Or my folk hero Joan Baez, who joined me in "Journey to the New World" (Sony) and who I serenade in the above-mentioned documentary.

Friends share their latest CDs, some of which have climbed to the top of my ipod, like "Patricia Racette: Diva on Detour" (Met Opera star turned cabaret seductress!) or Maria Schneider's awesome song cyle "Winter Morning Walks" featuring soprano Dawn Upshaw. Now if only I could compose, like Maria..."

BWW Classical thanks Sharon Isbin for chatting with us and sharing her selections. We look forward with great anticipation to her December 13th concert at the 92nd Street Y and hope to be interviewing her very soon to hear more. For more information about the concert, the new album and Sharon's other upcoming events, visit her website at www.sharonisbin.com.

photo: Darnell Renee


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Peter Danish Peter Danish is a Media Marketing Consultant and Classical Arts Presenter. He is a founding member of ArtsRock, where he presented concerts with such world renowned artists as Grammy winning Classical Guitarist Sharon Isbin, Grammy winning Violinist Marc O'Connor, The Eroica Trio, The American Brass Quintet, The New York Philharmonic Brass Quintet, Alec Baldwin, Louis Black and Robert Klein. At The Riverspace Performing Arts Center, he presented such artists as Meryl Streep, Jonathan Demme, Bill T. Jones, Bill Irwin, Mike Nichols, Ani Di Franco, Eve Ensler, Pete Seeger, Ellen Burstyn, Edward Albee and Kathleen Turner. He has programmed concerts and educational programs for a multitude of local arts organizations including the American National Opera and the Westchester Hudson Opera, and has lectured on opera and classical music in schools and libraries as part of their outreach programs. For over two decades he has served as Director of Marketing for NBC, Vice President of Marketing for Telemundo, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Azteca TV Network, and Marketing Consultant to PBS. He is a member of the Dramatist Guild of America, The Wagner Society of N.Y. and Board of Trustees of the award-winning classical concert series, The Carnegie Room Concerts at the Nyack Library. His work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Ad Age, Ad Week and Media Week.