Sharon Isbin plays Isaac Albéniz’s Asturias (Leyenda)

American classical guitarist Sharon Isbin plays Isaac Albéniz’s Asturias (Leyenda). An astonishing interpretation of one of the most important works of the classical guitar repertoire.

Sharon Isbin (born August 7, 1956 in St. Louis Park, Minnesota) is a widely recorded American classical guitarist, recording artist, concert performer, and the founder of the Guitar Department at the Juilliard School.

She is a Multi-Grammy Award winner Sharon Isbin is the author of the Classical Guitar Answer Book, and is Director of the guitar department at the Aspen Music Festival and the guitar department at The Juilliard School which she created in 1989.

Sharon Isbin
Sharon Isbin

Her catalogue of over 25 recordings ranges from Baroque, Spanish/Latin and 20th century to crossover and jazz-fusion. In November 1995, her CD American Landscapes was launched in the space shuttle Atlantis and presented to Russian cosmonauts during a rendezvous with Mir. She won the 2010 Grammy Award for “Best Instrumental Soloist Performance” for her CD Journey to the New World (Sony) which includes guests Joan Baez and Mark O’Connor. She won a Grammy Award in 2001 for her Dreams of a World: Folk-Inspired Music for Guitar (Warner Classics) for “Best Instrumental Soloist,” becoming the first classical guitarist to win a Grammy in 28 years. Her world premiere recording of concerti written for her by Christopher Rouse and Tan Dun won another Grammy in 2002 and she won Germany’s prestigious Echo Klassik Award for “Best Concert Recording”. She received a 2005 Latin Grammy nomination for “Best Classical Album” and a 2006 GLAAD Media Award nomination for “Outstanding Music Artist” for her disc with the New York Philharmonic of Joaquin Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez and concerti by Mexican composer Manuel Ponce and Brazilian Heitor Villa-Lobos. This is the Philharmonic’s first-ever recording with guitar, and follows their Avery Fisher Hall performances in June 2004 with Sharon Isbin as their first guitar soloist in 26 years. Her Journey to the Amazon with Brazilian percussionist Thiago de Mello and saxophonist Paul Winter, received a 1999 Grammy nomination for “Best Classical Crossover Album.” Her CD of Aaron Jay Kernis’ Double Concerto with violinist Cho-Liang Lin and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra received a 2000 Grammy nomination.

Asturias (Leyenda) is a musical work written by the Spanish composer Isaac Albéniz. It was originally written for the piano and set in the key of G minor, and first published in Barcelona, by Juan Bta. Pujol & Co., in 1892 as the prelude of a three-movement set entitled Chants d’Espagne.

Many have attributed the first transcription for guitar to Francisco Tárrega who put it in its most recognizable key, E minor. According to guitarist and guitar scholar Stephen Yates, the first guitar transcription of the piece was probably by Severino García Fortea, although Andrés Segovia’s transcription is the most famous and most influential.

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