Critical Acclaim for Recordings and Film

01.01.19
Sharon Isbin

Acclaim for “Alma Española”

“This album communicates the essence of the Spanish ‘soul’ superbly, perhaps more powerfully than any other recording of modern ‘classical’ song ... Isbin is one of our age’s finest guitarists, with a well-deserved reputation as an interpreter of the Spanish guitar tradition. Together they make a kind of dream team ... fascinating and rewarding programme.”
MusicWeb International (May 2018 Recording of the Month)

FIVE STARS ***** “Vivaciously, seductively idiomatic ... thoroughly entrancing ... Isbin’s range of color in the Siete canciones populares españolas masterfully matches the twists and turns of Leonard’s bewitching voice. With nuanced performances of songs and solo guitar pieces woven through the collection, this is an absolute joy.”
BBC Music Magazine

"Intensely soulful vocal prowess ... exquisite solo guitar. A classical music gem from beginning to end.”
Acoustic Guitar

“Leonard and Isbin swing with infectious enthusiasm ... Their performance of Rodrigo’s Aranjuez, ma pensée is a study in exquisite beauty ... each arc of Leonard’s phrasing telling a story of its own, Isbin’s guitar delivering spectacular rhapsodic riffs ... The solo tracks are an audiophile’s dream ... Isbin imbues each tone with its own special beauty without restricting flow, creating a resonance that hangs in the air like aural perfume.”
Gramophone

Acclaim for "Sharon Isbin: Troubadour"

“A wonderful documentary of an artist at the peak of her career. ... Isbin is extraordinarily articulate and charismatic, and as glamourous and beautiful as ever—and clearly deeply devoted to her art. ... Sound and video on the Blu-ray are exceptional, and the production superb. If you only know a few of Isbin’s contributions, you’ll find this a revelation. If you already know what a treasure she is, this will be a delightful hour.”
American Record Guide

“Winning documentary ... a testament to Isbin’s curiosity, imagination and mesmerizing command.”
Gramophone

CD OF THE WEEK: Sharon Isbin brings together an astonishing diversity of music in a five-disc set.
“Isbin’s performances are faithful and transcendent, evoking an almost otherworldly allure. The variety of textures ranges from solo guitar to full orchestral guitar concertos, adding up to create a testament to Isbin’s flexibility and mastery of classical guitar repertoire in all genres, old and new.”
WGBH

“Like Isbin’s playing, the documentary and its editing flow effortlessly. It helps that the guitarist has led a remarkable life and the wealth of cameos make this a delightful portrait. With the nuances and sensitivity of her playing, she is fluent in making music that touches hearts and minds, reaching wide audiences and recruiting worldwide to the joys and delights of the guitar.”
The Boston Musical Intelligencer

“Sharon Isbin: Troubadour is a wonderful piece that artfully shares this artist’s passion for musical creation and exploration.... Fantastic ... wonderful to watch.”
Guitar World

“A loving, thoughtful and richly photographed documentary portrait of the world’s most eminent classical guitarist. Isbin’s story is an inspiration—from her ascent to the peak of the male-dominated field of classical guitar to her tireless championing of new works for guitar and quest for new musical worlds to conquer. Don’t miss it!”
Minneapolis Star Tribune

Acclaim for "Sharon Isbin & Friends: Guitar Passions"
BILLBOARD TOP CLASSICAL CHARTS

"Grammy Award-winning guitarist Sharon Isbin is truly a master of this genre...Her new album elevates classical guitar to a whole new level. She masterfully captures what's unique about each performer's personality and style and melds it into a new guitarified creation...These three amazing instrumentalists were meant to play together. The chemistry between them is so genuine it was evident they were communicating at another level ... like a love triangle of soul mates who finish each other’s sentences.”
Guitar World

"The program displays all the diversity of a Brazilian rainforest…a true symphony of hearts and minds built on the cantus firmus of Isbin’s passion for musical friendship."
Gramophone

“Full of passion and the vision which makes her the most acclaimed classical guitarist on the scene today.”
Corriere della Sera (Italy)

"Isbin's 'Journey to the New World' was a brilliant recapitulation of the flow of ideas between English and US folk and classical modes; here, the gifted guitarist turns her attention to the Spanish and Latin American tradition, with a series of dazzling accounts."
The Independent (UK)

“A most successful crossover approach for the eminent guitarist. The new compositions are fascinating…The blendings of acoustical classical and electric rock or jazz guitars are all superb.”
Audiophile Audition

“Isbin is a superb player with impeccable tone, phrasing, articulation and attack.”
BBC Magazine

“The brightest star throughout is Isbin, whose playing is predictably flawless and spirited.”
Jazziz Magazine

"Guitar Passions is not only a fun time with respected friends, it is a beautiful collection of guitar tracks."
The Morton Report

"Spectacular music...absolutely transcendent...Sharon Isbin and her friends not only play with skill, they imbue that work with passion and excitement."
Seattle Post

ALBUM OF THE WEEK: "Polished technique and broad palette of sounds…Isbin eloquently incorporates Latin flavors…bringing fire and flair."
WQXR-FM

“Incredible recording. Ms. Isbin is ahead of the curve with “Guitar Passions”, and once again pushing the envelope to the benefit of us all.”
Classical Guitar Magazine (UK)

"On top of all this is Isbin's sheer musicality: she has the indefinable ability, common to great performers, to combine diverse material and diverse musical forces, and make them all her own. A sterling example of the crossover classical guitar album."
AllMusic

“A true symphony of hearts and minds built on the cantus firmus of Isbin’s passion for musical friendship.”
Gramophone

“Grammy Award-winning guitarist Sharon Isbin is truly a master ... her new album elevates classical guitar to a whole new level. She masterfully captures what’s unique about each performer’s personality and style and melds it into a new guitarified creation.”
Guitar World

Acclaim for "Journey to the New World"
2010 GRAMMY AWARD:
Best Instrumental Soloist Performance (without Orchestra)
63 Consecutive Weeks Billboard Top Classical Crossover Chart
#1 Classical Bestseller Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, iTunes


“Sharon’s exquisite playing allowed me to revisit and fall in love with these songs all over again.”
Joan Baez

“This new release finds Isbin at her expressive best, her timbral and dynamic shading completely at one with her delicate phrasing. The beautiful Wild Mountain Thyme shows off Isbin’s gorgeous tone-colour and cantabile approach to their fullest advantage. … Baez breathes life into each and every syllable in a way that many a Lieder singer could only dream of. Isbin proves as sensitive and thoughtful an accompanist as she is a soloist. … O’Connor plays alternately with wild energy, wistful nostalgia and bluesy swagger. It’s discs like this that show what ‘cross-over’ can really be.”
International Record Review

“One of the most beguiling, supple and charming musical journeys of the year.”
Soundstage!

“The beauty and range of Sharon’s guitar creates the perfect musical setting and imagery. America and the guitar have become inseparable in their musical manifestations, and Sharon’s performance on this recording expresses these connections as richly as you will ever hear.”
Mark O’Connor

“Sharon Isbin’s superbly lyrical playing endows these folksongs from the British Isles and North America with poetic beauty and enchanting intensity. The singing of Joan Baez is as sweetly evocative as ever. Mark O’Connor’s superb Strings and Threads Suite for violin and guitar, is spectacular, offering brilliant virtuosity in a framework of authentic folk intensity.”
Classical Guitar Magazine

“Comes off spectacularly. … knockout renditions by Baez and Isbin … Such is the musical sympathy and understanding displayed by all three performers here that, at the risk of condoning both bigamy and the reckless use of clichés, this is a marriage made in heaven.”
Gramophone

“One of the finest of Isbin’s many fine recordings. … simply exquisite. Her tone is ravishing.”
American Record Guide

April 2009 Hot Pick: “Isbin's playing could not be bettered; her expressive readings are full of intense lyricism and intimate poetry. ... amazingly sophisticated arrangements.”
NET Radio Nebraska

“With this new recording, Isbin proves she is one of the few classical musicians who can find the right grooves and native feel of Americana and English folk music. There's a vitality and excitement to this kind of American roots music that Isbin manages to capture with unwavering precision.”
Rochester Democrat & Chronicle

“This Grammy Award-winner’s latest CD is lovely collection of classical and folk pieces that shows off her virtuoso talents and delicate touch. Joan Baez provides haunting vocals.”
Film Score Monthly

“The sounds of both instruments are beautifully captured on the recording. … I can imagine this CD has very wide appeal, and not just among classical collectors.”
Audiophile Audition

“Wayfaring Stranger joins her with Joan Baez’s singing, casting a haunting spell. Throughout, the sound of Isbin’s guitar is warm, with a tone both soothing and smooth. It blends with Baez’s voice and O’Connor’s violin like they were destined for each other.”
Vintage Guitar

“The playing is exemplary, and the result is an ambitious, intriguing and thoroughly enjoyable album.”
PopMatters

“The four Renaissance lute works are a lovely way to open this delightful recital. … Joan Baez sings two folk songs with her characteristic pure tone and poignant delivery. John Duarte’s Joan Baez Suite skillfully weaves contrapuntal passages, thematic juxtapositions, occasional dissonance, delicate harmonics, and quotation into a moving tapestry … In Strings and Threads Suite, O’Connor’s fluid grace and deep affection for the genre are evident in every bar and Isbin has a fine feel for the music … A beautifully played program of instantaneous appeal. Sound is immaculate and lifelike throughout.”
Fanfare

“Leave it to an extraordinary musician like Sharon Isbin … definitely a keeper and a disc to return to again and again.”
All Music Guide