Biography

“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

Sean Shibe is “one of the foremost guitarists” of his generation. His approach to the traditional classical guitar canon avoids cliché and challenges all preconceptions.

In 2017 Sean Shibe’s debut solo album release on Delphian Records was met with critical acclaim and won him a nomination in the BBC Music Magazine ‘Instrumental Award’ category. Dreams and Fancies is a recording that explores the fruits of Julian Bream’s history of commissioning in the 20th Century alongside music by Dowland and was named Editor’s Choice in Gramophone as well as BBC Music Magazine’s Instrumental Choice.

Alongside the success of his recording debut, Sean Shibe’s “uncompromisingly monumental” project softLOUD premiered at the East Neuk and Edinburgh Fringe Festivals – a revelatory programme juxtaposing Jacobean lute music for classical 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.

Born in Edinburgh in 1992 of English and Japanese heritage, he studied at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and with 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 a YCAT artist between 2015 – 2017.

He has performed at internationally renowned venues including Aldeburgh Festival, Bath International Festival and Heidelberger-Frühling. He returned to the Marlboro Summer Music Festival on the invitation of Mitsuko Uchida, and has extensively toured in China.

Future engagements include debut concerts in Nagoya, Tokyo’s Musashino Hall, and recitals at the Wigmore Hall, Elbphilharmonie und Laeiszhalle and Cumnock Tryst.

With an acute interest in commissioning new works for the instrument, Sean Shibe will premiere new pieces by Michael Murray, whilst appearing as soloist with the Scottish Ensemble, and records John Adams Naive and Sentimental Music with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.

He 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. He has recorded solo works by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies for Linn Records as part of a Scottish Chamber Orchestra disc.

Recent collaborators include 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.

11 Comments

  1. I’ve been trying to follow your whereabouts from Mexico City, Sean. I’m a big fan of the guitar. Congratulations on the fine career you are building for yourself. I’m curious… what guitar is a very young, succesful guitarist playing on? Do you favor a British luthier?
    Arturo

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