“genius, a term which should rarely be applied to performing musicians, but at 25 he has it.”
David Nice, Arts Desk / East Neuk Festival / July 2017
In June 2017 Sean’s ‘uncompromisingly monumental’ project softLOUD premiered at the East Neuk before being broadcast on BBC Radio 3. It goes on to the Edinburgh International Festival Fringe in August as part of the Scottish Government’s Made in Scotland showcase.
Challenging preconceptions, softLOUD juxtaposes early Scottish lute pieces for acoustic guitar, with electric guitar arrangements of multi-tracked repertoire including US Pulitzer prize winning composers Julia Wolfe’s powerful elegy LAD, (originally written for 9 bagpipes) and David Lang’s Killer.
The habit of avoiding cliche also marks Sean’s approach to the traditional classical guitar canon. His debut solo album Dreams and Fancies, released by Delphian this summer, explores the fruits of Julian Bream’s history of commissioning in the 20th Century alongside music by Dowland.
Future engagements include debut concerts in Tokyo (Musashino Hall) and Nagoya with music by Bach, Villa-Lobos and Takemitsu, and recitals at Wigmore Hall, the Elbphilharmonie und Laeiszhalle and Cumnock Tryst. He premieres new works by Mark Simpson and Michael Murray, appears as soloist with the Scottish Ensemble, and records John Adams Naive and Sentimental Music with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.
Born in Edinburgh in 1992 of English and Japanese heritage, Sean studied at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, and with the inspirational Paolo Pegoraro in Italy. At the age of 20 he became the first guitarist to be selected for the BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artists scheme, and the only solo guitarist to be awarded a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship. He was selected by Young Classical Artists Trust in 2015.
As a concerto soloist Sean has appeared with the BBC Scottish Symphony, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales and BBC Symphony Orchestras performing Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez and Fantasía para un Gentilhombre, the Malcolm Arnold and Villa-Lobos Concertos, and recording Takemitsu’s To the Edge of Dream.
Over the last two years Sean has given recitals at major venues and festivals throughout Europe including Wigmore Hall, the Heidelberger-Frühling, Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, 3 Palaces Festival Malta, the Aldeburgh, East Neuk, Northern Chords, Newbury Spring and Bath International Festivals. He returned to the Marlboro Summer Music Festival & Academy in the USA (on the invitation of Mitsuko Uchida), recorded solo works by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies for Linn Records as part of a Scottish Chamber Orchestra disc, and was the featured cover disc for BBC Music Magazine. Further afield he has toured throughout China.
Drawn to chamber music and song, Sean has collaborated with the BBC Singers, Danish String Quartet, cellist Isang Enders, harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani and singers Ben Johnson, Robert Murray and Robert Tritschler.
His awards include the Royal Over-Seas League First Prize and Gold Medal (2011), Ivor Mairants Guitar Award (2009), a Dewar Arts and D’Addarrio endorsement. He is grateful for support from the Hattori Trust.