In 2017 Sean’s ‘uncompromisingly monumental’ project softLOUD premiered at the East Neuk and Edinburgh Fringe Festivals to critical acclaim. Future engagements include debut concerts in Tokyo and Nagoya, and recitals at Wigmore Hall, the Elbphilharmonie and Cumnock Tryst.
In 2017 Sean’s ‘uncompromisingly monumental’ project softLOUD premiered at the East Neuk and Edinburgh Fringe Festivals to critical acclaim. Challenging preconceptions softLOUD juxtaposes early Scottish lute pieces for acoustic guitar, with electric guitar arrangements of multi-tracked repertoire including US Pulitzer prize winning composers Julia Wolfe’s powerful elegy LAD, (originally written for 9 bagpipes) and David Lang’s Killer.
The habit of avoiding cliche also marks Sean’s approach to the traditional classical guitar canon. His debut solo album Dreams and Fancies, released by Delphian this summer, explores the fruits of Julian Bream’s history of commissioning in the 20th Century alongside music by Dowland.
Future engagements include debut concerts in Tokyo (Musashino Hall) and Nagoya with music by Bach, Villa-Lobos and Takemitsu, and recitals at Wigmore Hall, the Elbphilharmonie und Laeiszhalle and Cumnock Tryst. He premieres new works by Mark Simpson and Michael Murray, appears as soloist with the Scottish Ensemble, and records John Adams Naive and Sentimental Music with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.
Born in Edinburgh in 1992 of English and Japanese heritage, Sean studied at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, and with the inspirational Paolo Pegoraro in Italy. At the age of 20 he became the first guitarist to be selected for the BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artists scheme, and the only solo guitarist to be awarded a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship. He was selected by Young Classical Artists Trust in 2015.
As a concerto soloist Sean has appeared with the BBC Scottish Symphony, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales and BBC Symphony orchestras performing Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez and Fantasía para un Gentilhombre, the Malcolm Arnold and Villa-Lobos Concertos, and recording Takemitsu’s To the Edge of Dream.
Over the last two years Sean has given recitals at major venues and festivals throughout Europe including Wigmore Hall, the Heidelberger-Frühling, Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, 3 Palaces Festival Malta, the Aldeburgh, East Neuk, Northern Chords, Newbury Spring and Bath International Festivals. He returned to the Marlboro Summer Music Festival & Academy in the USA (on the invitation of Mitsuko Uchida), recorded solo works by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies for Linn Records as part of a Scottish Chamber Orchestra disc, and was the featured cover disc for BBC Music Magazine. Further afield he has toured throughout China.
Drawn to chamber music and song, Sean has collaborated with the BBC Singers, Danish String Quartet, cellist Isang Enders, harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani and singers Ben Johnson, Robert Murray and Robert Tritschler.
His awards include the Royal Over-Seas League First Prize and Gold Medal (2011), Ivor Mairants Guitar Award (2009), a Dewar Arts and D’Addarrio endorsement. He is grateful for support from the Hattori Trust.
“What is it about the young Edinburgh-born Sean Shibe that marks him out as one of the foremost guitarists of the young generation? It is quite simply that rare symbiosis of technical mastery and innate musicality. The evidence is there from bar one of this latest album, which is a golden representation of the old and new in English guitar music.”
“This is the best solo guitar disc I've heard. That it comes from a soloist in his twenties makes it all the more astounding ... Remarkable stuff, and the range of colours which Shibe draws from just six strings is extraordinary.”
“Dreams & Fancies announces an exciting new talent ... Shibe reveals himself here as a musician of considerable intelligence possessed of impressive technical resources.”
“The most seductive of charmed sounds… Shibe is another Bream, or something close. His playing unites finesse and poetry, and beautifully suggests a continuity of idiom. ”
“Shibe [...] an infallible galvaniser as well as something completely different.”
“... that soft, hauntingly inflected and coloured soft playing at which Shibe, more than any other acoustic guitarist I’ve ever heard, truly excels…..Only Shibe could have thought of asking her [Julia Wolfe] if she minded his transcribing it for nine electric guitars: genius, a term which should rarely be applied to performing musicians, but at 25 he has it. ”
“From the very first note he plays, Sean Shibe immediately draws in the attention of the audience… Sean Shibe created a magical atmosphere; he seems to intimately understand the meaning behind every note which he plays.”
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“A prodigious technician and supremely expressive player, Shibe gave a masterful account of this much-loved work. ”