Hailed as “the pre-eminent guitarist of our time,” multiple GRAMMY winner Sharon Isbin was named Musical America Worldwide’s Instrumentalist of the Year, the first guitarist in their 59-year award history. She has been soloist with over 200 orchestras, premiered over 80 works written for her by some of the world’s finest composers, and has given sold-out performances in celebrated halls across 40 countries. Winner of the Munich ARD, Madrid and Toronto Competitions, Germany’s Echo Klassik, and Guitar Player’s Best Classical Guitarist awards, she created festivals for Carnegie Hall and NPR, and has appeared on All Things Considered, CBS Sunday, and the cover of 50 magazines. She performed in Scorsese’s Oscar-winning The Departed, the first internationally televised 9/11 memorial, the White House by invitation of President Obama, and as the only classical artist in the 2010 GRAMMY Awards. PBS specials include the acclaimed documentary seen by millions around the globe, Sharon Isbin: Troubadour, winner of ASCAP’s Television Broadcast Award and available on DVD/Blu-ray and Amazon streaming. Latest in her discography of over 35 recordings include Affinity and Strings for Peace with Amjad Ali Khan, both named Best of 2020. Other titles include Alma Española; Souvenirs of Spain & Italy with the Pacifica Quartet; Sharon Isbin: 5 Classic Albums; Guitar Passions; her GRAMMY-winning Journey to the New World with guests Joan Baez and Mark O’Connor, which spent 63 consecutive weeks on top Billboard charts; and her Latin GRAMMY-nominated concerto disc with the New York Philharmonic, the orchestra’s only recording with guitar. Recent highlights include a commission for her by Carnegie Hall for its 125th anniversary, a 21-city Guitar Passions tour with jazz greats Stanley Jordan and Romero Lubambo, and a collaboration with Sting. Isbin’s teachers include Andrés Segovia, Oscar Ghiglia, and Rosalyn Tureck with whom she collaborated on landmark editions/recordings of the Bach lute suites. Author of the Classical Guitar Answer Book, she is the founding director of guitar departments at The Juilliard School and the Aspen Music Festival.
With a career spanning nearly three decades, the multiple Grammy Award-winning Pacifica Quartet has achieved international recognition as one of the finest chamber ensembles performing today. The Quartet is known for its virtuosity, exuberant performance style, and often-daring repertory choices. Having served as quartet-in-residence at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music for the past decade, the Quartet also leads the Center for Advanced Quartet Studies at the Aspen Music Festival and School, and was previously the quartet-in-residence at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In 2021, the Pacifica Quartet received a second Grammy Award for Contemporary Voices, an exploration of music by three Pulitzer Prize-winning composers: Shulamit Ran, Jennifer Higdon, and Ellen Taaffe Zwilich.
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. With its powerful energy and captivating, cohesive sound, the Pacifica has established itself as the embodiment of the senior American quartet sound.
Following the pandemic period, in addition to continuing to perform extensively from the quartet repertoire, the Pacifica Quartet is prioritizing collaboration with its esteemed group of friends and collaborators. Upcoming performances and recordings include projects with clarinetist Anthony McGill, guitarist Sharon Isbin, and pianist Marc-André Hamelin. In addition, the Quartet will collaborate with soprano Karen Slack for a performance at Carnegie Hall in a program featuring the world premiere of a new work by James Lee III.
The members of the Pacifica Quartet live in Bloomington, Indiana, 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.