One of the most versatile guitarists performing today, Sean Shibe’s innovative approach to his instrument has enhanced his reputation for having “one of the most discriminating ears in the business” (Gramophone). He was the first guitarist ever to be selected for BBC Radio 3’s New Generation Artists scheme, to be awarded a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship and, in 2018, to receive the Royal Philharmonic Society Award for Young Artists. Accolades for his recordings include two Gramophone Awards and an Opus Klassik. He is also the 2022 recipient of the Leonard Bernstein Award.
Following very successful performances at various summer festivals, this season Shibe gives his New York City solo recital debut at the 92nd Street Y which is followed by a tour in the US with Quatuor Van Kuijk. During the concert season he performs at Wigmore Hall four times and in solo recitals in Germany at the Konzerthaus Dortmund, Mozartfest Wurzburg, and returns to the Schleswig-Holstein Music festival sharing the stage with tenor Karim Sulayman. He performs with Hallé Orchestra and National Youth Orchestra of Scotland and tours with Manchester Collective in the UK and Europe.
A great admirer of the masterful composers of the past, Shibe is equally committed to new music. Alongside his own transcriptions of Bach’s lute suites and seventeenth century Scottish lute manuscripts, he continues to explore, experiment, and expand the repertoire for his instrument with recent works by Daniel Kidane, David Fennessy, Shiva Feshareki, David Lang, Julia Wolfe and Freya Waley-Cohen. New commissions include a solo works by Thomas Adès, Helen Grime and a new collaboration with Cassandra Miller and Dunedin Consort.
Highlights of the past seasons include two appearances at the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival in Summer 2022 working with Krzysztof Urbanski and Christoph Eschenbach and receiving the 2022 Leonard Bernstein Award, a special concert with LUDWIG at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, performances at the East Neuk, Aldeburgh, Norfolk and Norwich Festivals, Southbank Centre in London, Liszt Academy in Budapest, the Alte Oper Frankfurt, Heidelberger-Frühling, Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Musashino Hall in Tokyo, and Marlboro Summer Music Festival – the latter at the invitation of Mitsuko Uchida. Recent collaborators include the BBC Singers, Quatuor Van Kuijk, flautist Adam Walker, singers Karim Sulayman, Allan Clayton, Ben Johnson, Robert Murray and Robin Tritschler, and performance artist and art filmmaker Marina Abramović. Shibe was one of the first artists to return to the Wigmore Hall following the Covid-19 lockdown, receiving a five-star review from The Guardian.
His most recent release is a second album for Pentatone titled Lost & Found, recorded on electric guitar and featuring repertoire by Hildegard von Bingen, Olivier Messiaen, Moondog, Julius Eastman, Bill Evans, Chick Corea, Meredith Monk, Shiva Feshareki, Oliver Leith and Daniel Kidane. His Pentatone debut album Camino (2021) featured an introspective programme of French and Iberian music. The album was named Recording of the Month by BBC Music Magazine as well the Recording of the Week by The Guardian, Presto Classical, and The Times describing it as “one of the most compelling and touching recitals for the instrument I can recall”. The recent releases on Pentatone follow a string of successes on Delphian Records receiving many prestigious awards. With the laconically titled Bach (2020), a chart-topping recording of Bach lute suites arranged for guitar, Shibe received the Gramophone Award in the Instrumental Category and became the cover star of Gramophone Magazine’s June 2020 issue in which the disc was named Editor’s Choice.
Born in Edinburgh in 1992 of English and Japanese heritage, Shibe studied under Allan Neave at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, and Paolo Pegoraro in Italy. Shibe currently holds a teaching position at University of the Arts Bremen.