Guitar Sean Shibe

“Shibe’s music-making is masterful, beautiful and convincing in every way” (The Times, 2020)

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. Additional accolades include the Royal Over-Seas League First Prize and Gold Medal (2011), and a prize from Dewar Arts and the 2015 YCAT International Auditions.
2021 marks the release of Shibe’s latest album Camino recorded for Pentatone and featuring an introspective programme of French and Iberian music. The album has been named the recording of the month by BBC Music Magazine as well the recording of the week by The Guardian, Presto Classical, and The Times describing it as “one of the most compelling and touching recitals for the instrument I can recall”. Camino follows a string of successes recorded for Delphian Records. Shibe’s debut album Dreams and Fancies (2017) was named Editor’s Choice in Gramophone and nominated for a BBC Music Magazine Instrumental Award. The Gramophone Award-winning softLOUD (2018) was hailed as ‘spectacular’ (Gramophone) and ‘gripping’ (The Guardian), using both acoustic and electric guitar in repertoire ranging from Scottish lute manuscripts to electric guitar arrangements of Steve Reich’s Electric Counterpoint. With the laconically titled Bach (2020), a chart-topping recording of Bach lute suites arranged for guitar, Shibe became the cover star of Gramophone Magazine’s June 2020 issue in which the disc was named Editor’s Choice. The recording earned glowing reviews from The Times and The Scotsman, with Presto Classical and Europadisc both naming it ‘Disc of the Week’ and has received the Gramophone Award in the Instrumental Category.

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 for his “irresistible style and authority… a nonchalant virtuoso and boundary breaker”. He looks forward to opening his 2021-22 season with a BBC Chamber Prom at Cadogan Hall followed by appearances at the Schleswig Holstein Music Festivals, St David’s Hall Cardiff, Glasgow Cathedral Festival, and King’s Place in London. Recent stage highlights include performances at the Southbank Centre in London, Liszt Academy in Budapest, the Alte Oper Frankfurt, Heidelberger-Frühling, Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Musashino Hall in Tokyo, the East Neuk and Aldeburgh Festivals, and Marlboro Summer Music Festival – the latter at the invitation of Mitsuko Uchida. He has appeared with almost all of the UK symphony orchestras and this season performs in the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and in Gent and Rovereto. 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.

A great admirer of the masterful composers of the past, Shibe is equally committed to conceiving imaginative programmes of new music and commissions. 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 both in the studio and on stage with the music of composers such as Daniel Kidane, David Fennessy, Sofia Gubaidulina, Thomas Ades, Shiva Feshareki, David Lang, Julia Wolfe, Sir James Macmillan, Mark Simpson, Sylvia Villa and Freya Waley-Cohen.
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. He is a D’Addario Endorsee and performs on these strings exclusively. Shibe currently holds a teaching position at University of the Arts Bremen.