Sharon Isbin Receives the 2020 Musical America “Instrumentalist of the Year” Award
Salzburg Festival Named Festival of the Year
Joan Tower, Sharon Isbin, Peter Mattei, Danish String Quartet
Recognized as Composer, Instrumentalist, Vocalist, and Ensemble of the Year
Musical America, now in its third century as the indispensable resource for the performing arts, today announced the winners of the annual Musical America Awards, recognizing artistic excellence and achievement in the arts.
The announcement precedes the December publication of the 2020 Musical America International Directory of the Performing Arts, which, in addition to its comprehensive industry listings, pays homage to each of these artists in its editorial pages.
The annual Musical America Awards will be presented in a special ceremony at Carnegie Hall, generously sponsored by the organizations below.
INSTRUMENTALIST OF THE YEAR: SHARON ISBIN
Sharon Isbin is the first guitarist to be named Musical America’s Instrumentalist of the Year. “She has also reconfigured the guitar’s repertoire,” writes Allan Kozinn in his tribute, “and updated the ways classical guitarists present themselves and their instrument.” Her thoughtful commissioning program has yielded new works by John Corigliano, Lukas Foss, Tan Dun, Joan Tower, Aaron Jay Kernis, Ned Rorem, and the late Christopher Rouse, among several others. She became the first guitarist to record as a soloist with the New York Philharmonic, on a CD of works by Rodrigo, Villa-Lobos, and Ponce. She has performed and recorded with Brazilian jazz artist Antonio Carlos Jobim, jazz guitarist Larry Coryell, folk singer Joan Baez, country fiddler Mark O’Connor, and rock guitarists Steve Vai and Steve Morse. Still, she has hardly neglected the standard classical repertoire in her many straightforward recital and concerto appearances, which include works composed for predecessors like Andrés Segovia–with whom she studied at Yale while earning her bachelor’s and master’s degrees–and Julian Bream. There are also recordings with singers and some chamber music, most recently with the Pacifica Quartet, and, of course, the contemporary scores she has commissioned.