”As a musician, I miss more than ever being able to perform in person, to give and exchange my feelings and energy in the moment with a live audience” shares Sharon Isbin. “As we now realize, that will not be possible in the coming months. Yet music—inspiring, restorative and healing—is such a meaningful part of our lives. In that spirit, I feel fortunate to share new music created with amazing artists with whom I have had the honor and joy of collaborating over time, and hope it will offer some comfort.”
On Friday May 22, Sharon Isbin’s two newest albums—Strings for Peace and Affinity—will be released throughout the world, both as physical CDs and in digital formats.
The album Affinity celebrates works written for Isbin by leading composers from three continents: the Africa-influenced “El Decameron Negro” by Cuban guitarist/composer Leo Brouwer, world premiere recordings of the Chinese and Spanish-inspired “Seven Desires for Guitar” by Tan Dun, Richard Danielpour’s sensuous song “Cycle Of Love and Longing” commissioned for her by Carnegie Hall and performed with fellow GRAMMY winner Isabel Leonard, a new Antonio Lauro guitar duet with Colin Davin, and the jazz and world music-influenced Affinity: Concerto for Guitar & Orchestra by Chris Brubeck with the Maryland Symphony Orchestra conducted by Elizabeth Schulze, Strathmore Concert Hall’s first commercial release. The Affinity concerto includes a heartfelt musical tribute to Chris’ father Dave Brubeck whose centennial anniversary will be celebrated this fall.
Strings for Peace, with legendary sarod master Amjad Ali Khan and his two brilliant sons Amaan and Ayaan Ali Bangash, joined by tabla virtuoso Amit Kavthekar, explores the richness of North Indian classical music in four evocative world premiere ragas for guitar and sarod composed for Isbin by Maestro Khan, with guitar arrangements by Kyle Paul.
Recorded last year after Isbin’s tour in India, the music is more timely than ever. Reflecting on her friendship that began more than ten years ago, Ayaan writes: “When we started out, little did we know that this creation would come to fruition at a time when humanity would need to consider meditation and contemplation more than ever.” And what Khan calls a “blissful dream of a project” is one in which he has found a way to interweave our varied musical, spiritual and artistic traditions with mystical beauty, creativity, grace and great emotion. Contemporary Fusion hails it as “Groundbreaking … enchanting … spiritual enlightenment and sonic joy.”
“Having practiced Transcendental Meditation since the age of 17 is another way in which I feel a spiritual connection to India where the practice originated thousands of years ago” says Isbin. “I have performed benefits for the David Lynch Foundation which brings TM to many underserved communities, and most recently, to health care workers during the pandemic in a remarkable new initiative, Heal the Healers Now.”
To learn more about Sharon Isbin you can go to www.sharonisbin.com.