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ROCK ON! This Week's Sound Bites...4/27/17

By Danny Coleman

originally published: 04/27/2017

< Sharon Isbin has received a B.A cum laude from Yale University, studied with the likes of Aldo Minella, Sophocles Papas and Andres Segovia among others, as well as won multiple Grammy Awards, toured the world, became the founding director of the Guitar Department at the famed Juilliard and well, you get the idea; Isbin is a very talented lady, possibly without equal in the world of classical guitarists.

Recently Isbin performed to a large, appreciative crowd at Princeton University's McCarter Theater. The stage was set with a single chair and two microphones and she strode upon it, taking her rightful throne at 8:05 p.m. EST. This royalty of guitar held her audience spellbound from the first notes of, "Spanish Dance #5" by Enrique Granados until the last notes of her encore; on this night, "Waltz Opus 8, #4."

The evenings second offering was an exquisite adaptation piece written in 1981 specifically for her called, "The Black Decameron," taken from the 1939 work titled, "Negro Cameron," by Leo Brouwer. The three movements, "Lovers Fleeing through the Valley of the Echos," "The Harp of the Warrior" and "The Maiden in Love," were seamed together flawlessly as Sharon's more than capable hands floated across the frets like butterflies over a meadow.

ROCK ON! This Week&#39;s Sound Bites...4/27/17Filling the few gaps between selections with some poignant anecdotes and her pleasant disposition, Isbin revealed herself to be as charming as she is talented. The next piece was of the 19th century, written by Francisco Tarrega and called, "Capricho Arabe" and also contained the follow up,"Recuerdos de la Alhambra." "This was written to capture the essence of the fountains and waterfalls in Granada, Spain and if you watch the motion of my right hand you'll see why," she stated with confidence then proceeded to gracefully recreate the movement with said right hand caressing the strings in an endless open handed, almost spider-like rhythm akin to cascading water, further showcasing her mastery of the instrument.

"Asturias," penned by Isaac Albeniz and transcribed for guitar by the great Andres Segovia ended the approximate 40 minute opening set and took us to intermission.

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"Nightshade Rounds," written specifically for Isbin circa 1979 by Bruce MacCombie led off the second set just after 9 p.m. Inspired by the deadly Nightshade flower, "Which is both beautiful and poisonous," he wrote it based solely on Sharon's incredible ability. He was quoted as saying, "In the manner of emerging petals, the piece gradually unfolds in a series of arpeggiated patterns. Ms. Isbin's extraordinary technical abilities and innate feel for balancing a sense of timelessness with movement-in-time played a large role in the shaping of this piece." Isbin did not disappoint as she played the piece which she recorded for EMI to perfection.

Folk influences based in the UK and early American artists provided the impetus for the Andrew York composition entitled, "Andecy." Written by York while staying in a small village of the same name in France; Sharon relayed its eerie melodies without fail.

Even the great classical composer Bach was represented on this magical evening as the collaborative efforts of Isbin and Rosalyn Tureck brought, "Suite BWV997: Gigue & Double," to fruition. Isbin studied with Tureck, a Bach scholar, for a decade and the pair created many editions of Bach pieces, in particular from the lute suites due to its similarity to the guitar. This particular work can be found on the recording, "Sharon Isbin: Bach for Guitar."

The Agustin Barrios Mangore works of "La Catedral" and "Waltz, Op. 8, No. 4," put the finishing touches on a splendid evening of culture, classical music, immeasurable talent and jaw dropping performances by this statuesque brunette from Minnesota. Isbin is both stunningly efficient and miraculously gifted as well as a true virtuoso who has honed her craft to perfection.

To discover more about Sharon Isbin, please visit,

That's it for this week! Please continue to support live and original music and until next week....ROCK ON!

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1600 River Road New Hope, PA
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Main Street Hightstown
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Dadz Bar & Grill
744 Main Street Lumberton
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116 S. Main Street New Hope, PA.
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Freddies Tavern
12 Railroad Avenue Ewing
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Grover's Mill Coffee House
Princeton-Hightstown Road Princeton Junction
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105 S. Main Street New Hope, PA.
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7759 New Falls Road Levittown, PA
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3108 S. Broad Street, Hamilton
(609) 888-1435
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1644 Whitehorse-Mercerville Road Hamilton
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Laurita Winery
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310 Klockner Road Hamilton
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(609) 324-0880
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181 Rte. 539 Cream Ridge
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2465 South Broad Street Hamilton
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Danny Coleman is a veteran musician and writer from central New Jersey. He hosts a weekly radio program entitled “Rock On Radio” airing Sunday evenings at 7:000pm EST on multiple internet radio outlets where he features indie/original bands and solo artists.



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