“2009 Musical America’s “Ensemble of the Year”
- New York Times
“The pre-eminent guitarist of our time” – Boston Magazine
Pacifica Quartet with Sharon Isbin, guitar
October 1, 2019, 7:30pm
CABELL HALL AUDITORIUM, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA
Underwriters: David W. Garrison & Mary Jane King
Underwriter: David Sansone
Boccherini Quartet in E-flat Major, Op. 58, No. 2
Castelnuovo-Tedesco Guitar Quintet in F major, Op. 143
Vivaldi Concerto in D Major for guitar & strings,
Puccini I Crisantemi
Boccherini Guitar Quintet No. 4 in D major, G. 448
Recognized for its virtuosity, exuberant performance style, and often-daring repertory choices, over the past twenty-five years the PACIFICA QUARTET has achieved international recognition as one of the finest chamber ensembles performing today. Named the quartet-in-residence at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music in March 2012, the Pacifica was previously the quartet-in-residence at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and received a Grammy Award for Best Chamber Music Performance. In 2017, the Pacifica Quartet was appointed to lead the Center for Advanced Quartet Studies at the Aspen Music Festival and School.
Formed in 1994, the Pacifica Quartet quickly won chamber music’s top competitions, including the 1998 Naumburg Chamber Music Award. In 2002 the ensemble was honored with Chamber Music America’s Cleveland Quartet Award and the appointment to Lincoln Center’s The Bowers Program (formerly CMS Two), and in 2006 was awarded a prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant. Also in 2006 the Quartet was featured on the cover of Gramophone and heralded as one of “five new quartets you should know about,” the only American quartet to make the list. And in 2009, the Quartet was named “Ensemble of the Year” by Musical America.
The Pacifica Quartet has carved a niche for itself as the preeminent interpreter of string quartet cycles, harnessing the group’s singular focus and incredible stamina to portray each composer’s evolution, often over the course of just a few days. Having given highly acclaimed performances of the complete Carter cycle in San Francisco, New York, Chicago, and Houston; the Mendelssohn cycle in Napa, Australia, New York, and Pittsburgh; and the Beethoven cycle in New York, Denver, St. Paul, Chicago, Napa, and Tokyo (in an unprecedented presentation of five concerts in three days at Suntory Hall), the Quartet presented the monumental Shostakovich cycle in Chicago, New York, Montreal and at London’s Wigmore Hall. The Quartet has been widely praised for these cycles, with critics calling the concerts “brilliant,” “astonishing,” “gripping,” and “breathtaking.” In the 2018-19 season, the Pacifica Quartet continues its exploration of the Beethoven cycle at the National Arts Centre (Ottawa) and for the Portland Friends of Chamber Music and the Shostakovich cycle for Chamber Music San Francisco and Skidmore College.
Other season highlights include performances at Shriver Hall with Marc-André Hamelin, a Florida tour together with Sharon Isbin, and appearances on North America’s major chamber-music series, including concerts in Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Kansas City, and Vancouver.
An ardent advocate of contemporary music, the Pacifica Quartet commissions and performs many new works including those by Keeril Makan and Shulamit Ran, the latter in partnership with the Music Accordconsortium, London’s Wigmore Hall, and Tokyo’s Suntory Hall. The work – entitled Glitter, Doom, Shards, Memory – had its New York debut as part of the Chamber Music Society at Lincoln Center series.
In 2008 the Quartet released its Grammy Award-winning recording of Carter’s quartets Nos. 1 and 5 on the Naxos label; the 2009 release of quartets Nos. 2, 3, and 4 completed the two-CD set. Cedille Records recently released the third of four volumes comprising the entire Shostakovich cycle, along with other contemporary Soviet works, to rave reviews: “The playing is nothing short of phenomenal.” (Daily Telegraph, London) Recent projects include recording Leo Ornstein’s rarely-heard piano quintet with Marc-André Hamelin with an accompanying tour, the Brahms piano quintet with the legendary pianist Menahem Pressler, and the Brahms and Mozart clarinet quintets with the New York Philharmonic’s principal clarinetist, Anthony McGill.
The members of the Pacifica Quartet live in Bloomington, IN, where they serve as quartet-in-residence and full-time faculty members at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music. Prior to their appointment, the Quartet was on the faculty of the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana from 2003 to 2012, and also served as resident performing artist at the University of Chicago for seventeen years.
The Pacifica Quartet is endorsed by D’Addario and proudly uses their strings.
For more information on the Quartet, please visit www.pacificaquartet.com.
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.” Winner of Guitar Player magazine’s Best Classical Guitarist award, Germany’s Echo Klassik, Concert Artists Guild’s Virtuoso Award, and the Toronto and Madrid Queen Sofia competitions, she was the first guitarist ever to win the Munich Competition. She has appeared as soloist with nearly 200 orchestras and has given sold-out performances in many of the world’s finest halls, including New York’s Carnegie and Geffen Halls, Boston’s Symphony Hall, Washington D.C.’s Kennedy Center, Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center, London’s Barbican and Wigmore Halls, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, Paris’ Châtelet, Vienna’s Musikverein, Munich’s Herkulessaal, and Madrid’s Teatro Real. She has served as Artistic Director/Soloist of festivals she created for Carnegie Hall and the Ordway Music Theatre (St. Paul), New York’s 92nd Street Y, and the national radio series Guitarjam.
American Public Television’s presentation of the acclaimed one-hour documentary Sharon Isbin: Troubadour has been seen by millions on over 200 PBS stations across the U.S., and abroad including Europe, Japan and Mexico. Winner of the 2015 ASCAP Television Broadcast Award, the film is available with bonus performances on DVD and Blu-ray. Watch the trailer at: www.sharonisbintroubadour.com Other recent national television performances on PBS include the Billy Joel Gershwin Prize with Josh Groban, and Tavis Smiley. A frequent guest on NPR’s All Things Considered and A Prairie Home Companion, Ms. Isbin has been featured on television throughout the world, including CBS Sunday Morning, Showtime’s The L Word, and as soloist on the GRAMMY nominated soundtrack of Scorsese’s Oscar-winning The Departed. She performed at Ground Zero for the first internationally televised 9/11 memorial, in concert at the White House by invitation of President Obama, and as the only classical artist to perform in the 2010 GRAMMY Awards. She has been profiled in periodicals from People to Elle, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, as well as appearing on the cover of over 45 magazines.
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 release, Alma Española with Argentinian-American opera star Isabel Leonard, has been a #1 bestseller, and is the first Spanish art song album with guitar of its kind in 40 years, including twelve world premiere arrangements by Isbin. It was honored by a 2018 GRAMMY Award for Producer of the Year, Classical in recordings by David Frost. Other recent #1 bestselling titles include Sharon Isbin: 5 Classic Albums and Sharon Isbin & Friends: Guitar Passions with rock and jazz guests Steve Vai, Steve Morse, Heart’s Nancy Wilson, Stanley Jordan and Romero Lubambo. Her 2010 GRAMMY-winning Journey to the New World with guests Joan Baez and Mark O’Connor, spent 63 consecutive weeks on top Billboard charts. Her Dreams of a World soared onto top classical Billboard charts, edging out The 3 Tenors, and earned her a GRAMMY for Best Instrumental Soloist, making her the first classical guitarist to receive a GRAMMY in 28 years. Her world premiere recording of concerti written for her by Christopher Rouse and Tan Dun received a GRAMMY and Germany’s prestigious Echo Klassik Award. She received a Latin GRAMMY nomination and GLAAD Media Award nomination for Outstanding Music Artist (alongside Melissa Etheridge) for her Billboard Top 10 Classical disc with the New York Philharmonicof Rodrigo Concierto de Aranjuez/Ponce/Villa-Lobos concertos, the Philharmonic’s only recording with guitar, which followed their Lincoln Center performances with Ms. Isbin as their first guitar soloist in 26 years. Other bestselling titles include Baroque Favorites for Guitar with the Zurich Chamber Orchestra, her GRAMMY nominated Journey to the Amazon with Brazilian percussionist Thiago de Mello and saxophonist Paul Winter, and Howard Shore’s GRAMMY nominated soundtrack for Scorsese’s The Departed in which she is the featured soloist. Her recordings have received many other honors, including Recording of the Year in Gramophone and CD Review, Recording of the Month in Stereo Review, and Album of the Year in Guitar Player.
Other CDs include J.S.Bach Complete Lute Suites, Aaron Jay Kernis’ Double Concertowith violinist Cho-Liang Lin and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Wayfaring Strangerwith mezzo-soprano Susanne Mentzer, and concerti by Joaquin Rodrigo which the composer praised as “magnificent.” She is also featured on the GRAMMY Foundation’s Smart Symphonies(tm) CD distributed to over five million families.
Sharon Isbin has been acclaimed for expanding the guitar repertoire with some of the finest new works of our time and has commissioned and premiered more concerti than any other guitarist, as well as numerous solo and chamber works. Works written for her by John Corigliano, Joseph Schwantner and Lukas Foss are featured on her American Landscapes, the first-ever recording of American guitar concerti. (In November 1995, it was launched in the space shuttle Atlantis and presented to Russian cosmonauts during a rendezvous with Mir.) She premiered Concert de Gaudí by Christopher Rouse with Christoph Eschenbach and the NDR Symphony, followed by the U.S. premiere with the Dallas Symphony. Among many other composers who have written for her areJoan Tower, David Diamond, Aaron Jay Kernis, Leo Brouwer, Howard Shore, Ned Roremand Ami Maayani, with highlights including John Duarte’s Joan Baez Suite, and a duo by rock guitarist Steve Vai which they performed in Paris’ Théâtre du Châtelet. Recent premieres of works written for her include the acclaimed Affinity: Concerto for Guitar & Orchestra by Chris Brubeck, and a work by Richard Danielpour co-commissioned by Carnegie Hall for its 125th anniversary and Chicago’s Harris Theater.
Highlights include tours with the Zurich Chamber Orchestra, Austria’s Tonkünstler Orchestra and Belgium’s Philharmonique de Liege, a week of performances at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, Filarmonica Toscanini in Milan, MIDEM Classical Awards in Cannes, and most recently, a 21-city Guitar Passions tour with jazz greats Stanley Jordan and Romero Lubambo, collaborations with Sting, tours with the Pacifica Quartet, performances with the Detroit, National and Montreal Symphonies, and sold-out recitals in Carnegie Hall, Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center and the Kennedy Center.
Ms. Isbin has toured Europe annually since she was seventeen, and appears as soloist with orchestras throughout the world, including the New York Philharmonic, National Symphony, Baltimore, Detroit, Houston, Dallas, Pittsburgh, Minnesota, Montreal, St. Louis, Nashville, New Jersey, Louisville, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Phoenix, Buffalo and Utah Symphonies; the London Symphony, Orchestre National de France; and BBC Scottish, Lisbon Gulbenkian, Prague, Milan Verdi, Belgrade, Mexico City, Jerusalem and Tokyo Symphonies; and chamber orchestras including Saint Paul, Los Angeles, Zurich, Scottish and Lausanne. Her festival appearances include Mostly Mozart, Aspen, Ravinia, Grant Park, Interlochen, Santa Fe, Mexico City, Bermuda, Hong Kong, Montreux, Strasbourg, Paris, Athens, Istanbul, Ravenna, Prague and Budapest International Festivals.
As a chamber musician, Ms. Isbin has also performed with the Emerson String Quartet and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, a Guitar Summit tour with jazz greats Herb Ellis, Stanley Jordan and Michael Hedges, 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.
Born in Minneapolis, Sharon Isbin began her guitar studies at age nine in Italy, and later studied with Andrès Segovia, Oscar Ghiglia, and for ten years with noted Bach scholar and keyboardist Rosalyn Tureck with whom she collaborated on landmark editions/recordings of the Bach lute suites for guitar (Warner Classics/G. Schirmer). She received a B.A. cum laude from Yale University and a Master of Music from the Yale School of Music. She authored the Classical Guitar Answer Book, and is Director of guitar departments at theAspen Music Festival and The Juilliard School (which she created in l989 becoming the first and only guitar instructor in the institution’s 100-year history).
Sharon Isbin has been practicing Transcendental Meditation since age 17 and donates her time to perform benefits for the David Lynch Foundation, along with Katy Perry, Sting, Hugh Jackman, Jerry Seinfeld and Jay Leno, to bring TM to at-risk communities. In her spare time, she enjoys trekking in the jungles of Latin America, cross-country skiing, snorkeling and mountain hiking. Please visit her on Facebook and Twitter.