One of the most versatile guitarists performing today, Sean Shibe’s innovative approach to his instrument has enhanced his reputation for having “one of the most discriminating ears in the business” (Gramophone). He was the first guitarist ever to be selected for BBC Radio 3’s New Generation Artists scheme, to be awarded a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship and, in 2018, to receive the Royal Philharmonic Society Award for Young Artists. Accolades for his recordings include two Gramophone Awards and an Opus Klassik. He is the 2022 recipient of the Leonard Bernstein Award.
A great admirer of the masterful composers of the past, Shibe is equally committed to new music. Alongside his own transcriptions of Bach’s lute suites and seventeenth century Scottish lute manuscripts, he continues to explore, experiment, and expand the repertoire for his instrument with recent works by Daniel Kidane, David Fennessy, Shiva Feshareki, David Lang, Julia Wolfe and Freya Waley-Cohen. New commissions include a solo work by Thomas Ades, Helen Grime and a new collaboration with Cassandra Miller and the Dunedin Consort.
Highlights of the past seasons include his NY debut at 92NY followed by a tour in the US with Quatour van Kuijk, a UK tour with Manchester Collective, a number of appearances at the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival (in 2022 working with Krzysztof Urbanski and Christoph Eschenbach, and in 2023 with tenor Karim Sulayman), a special concert with LUDWIG at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, performances at the East Neuk, Aldeburgh and Norfolk and Norwich festivals, Southbank Centre in London, Liszt Academy in Budapest, Alte Oper Frankfurt, Heidelberger-Frühling, Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Musashino Hall in Tokyo, and Marlboro Summer Music Festival – the latter at the invitation of Mitsuko Uchida. Recent collaborators include the BBC Singers, flautist Adam Walker, singers Allan Clayton, Ben Johnson, Robert Murray and Robin Tritschler, and performance artist and art filmmaker Marina Abramović. Shibe was one of the first artists to return to the Wigmore Hall following the Covid-19 lockdown, receiving a five-star review from The Guardian.
His most recent solo release is a second album for Pentatone titled Lost & Found, recorded on electric guitar and featuring repertoire by Hildegard von Bingen, Olivier Messiaen, Moondog, Julius Eastman, Bill Evans, Chick Corea, Meredith Monk, Shiva Feshareki, Oliver Leith and Daniel Kidane. His Pentatone debut album Camino (2021) featured an introspective programme of French and Iberian music, and was named recording of the month by BBC Music Magazine as well as recording of the week by The Guardian, Presto Classical, and The Times, who described it as “one of the most compelling and touching recitals for the instrument I can recall”. The recent releases on Pentatone follow a string of successes on Delphian Records, which also received many prestigious awards. With the laconically titled Bach (2020), a chart-topping recording of Bach lute suites arranged for guitar, Shibe received the Gramophone Award in the Instrumental Category and became the cover star of Gramophone Magazine’s June 2020 issue in which the disc was named Editor’s Choice.
Born in Edinburgh in 1992 of English and Japanese heritage, Shibe studied under Allan Neave at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, and Paolo Pegoraro in Italy.
Het Concertgebouw Amsterdam
Barbican Centre London
Philharmonie de Luxembourg
Philharmonie de Paris
Auditorium-Orchestre National de Lyon