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Contributed by Erik Kibelsbeck on 01/23/2004
Sharon Isbin, hailed by Boston magazine as "the pre-eminent guitarist of our time," and percussionist Gaudencio Thiago de Mello will perform a program of Brazilian music at Ithaca College on Thursday, January 29.
A frequent guest on such nationally broadcast radio programs as St. Paul Sunday, All Things Considered, and Garrison Keillor's A Prairie Home Companion, Isbin has given sold-out performances throughout the country and the world. On September 11, 2002, she joined Yo Yo Ma, Gil Shaham, and the Juilliard String Quartet in performing at the name-reading ceremony at Ground Zero.
Isbin: Ground-breaking artist
Isbin's catalogue of over 20 recordings reflects a remarkable versatility, ranging from Baroque and Spanish/Latin to crossover and jazz-fusion. In 2000 her Dreams of a World: Folk-inspired Music for Guitar soared to the top of the classical Billboard charts and earned her a Grammy Award for "Best Instrumental Soloist Performance," making her the first classical guitarist to receive a Grammy in 28 years. A year later her world-premiere recording of concerti written for her by Christopher Rouse and Tan Dun earned her a Grammy for "Best Classical Contemporary Composition."
Her first Grammy nomination came in 1999 with Journey to the Amazon, a collaboration with Thiago de Mello and saxophonist Paul Winter. The recording was nominated in the "Best Classical Crossover Album" category, making her the first guitarist ever to be nominated in this area. The Ithaca College concert will feature selections from this recording.
de Mello: Roots never forgotten
Composer, arranger, and multi-instrumentalist Gaudencio Thiago de Mello was born and grew up in the Brazilian Amazon. After pursuing studies in architecture, he became a professional soccer coach, twice winning championships in his native land.
His first love, though, was music, and at age 33 he moved to New York to study classical guitar. As his formal studies progressed, he never forgot the hymns and spirituals he first heard as a child. Nor did he forget the natural and man-made sounds of his homeland. In his compositions and percussion work, birdsongs, falling water, and Amazonian Indian chants blend with the rhythms of Afro-Brazilian music and the contemporary jazz language of New York City.
Contributed by Erik Kibelsbeck