Passionate about guitar music? If so, Penn State's Eisenhower Auditorium should be your destination Friday evening.
Three-time Grammy Award winner and classical virtuoso Sharon Isbin, named by Boston magazine as "the pre-eminent guitarist of our time," teams with innovative American jazzman Stanley Jordan and Brazilian jazz master Romero Lubambo to perform classical, jazz and Brazilian music in Guitar Passions at 7:30 p.m. Jan 31 in Eisenhower.
The Center for the Performing Arts presentation, inspired by the popular album Sharon Isbin & Friends: Guitar Passions, utilizes a mix of acoustic and electric guitars and features works by composers such as Joaquin Rodrigo, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Isaac Albéniz, Gentil Montaña, Quique Sinesi, Ariel Ramírez and Alfredo Vianna.
Tickets are still available for the concert.
Hear my interview with Isbin, which includes a sample of music from the Guitar Passions CD.
Read my feature article about the Guitar Passions musicians.
The director of guitar studies at New York City's Juilliard School, Isbin has recorded more than 25 albums of music ranging from Baroque and Spanish/Latin to crossover and jazz-fusion. A writer for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution called the Minneapolis native "the Monet of the classical guitar."
"Let me just say guitar is not an easy instrument," Jordan said. "It's one of the easiest instruments to pick up. To master it, it's a lifetime. And what's amazing about Sharon is just her mastery of the guitar."
Jordan has enjoyed critical and commercial success for almost three decades. The Princeton University graduate, often described as a musical chameleon, performs reinventions of classical masterpieces, soulful explorations of pop-rock hits, straight-ahead jazz and ultramodern improvisations.
In Magic Touch, his 1985 debut album, the Chicago native introduced the world to his extraordinary tapping technique, in which he plays the guitar fretboard like a piano keyboard.
"By doing so, he's able to achieve a remarkable quality of sound, and diversity of counterpoint and musical inflection that is very different than if he were simply using a pick or strumming," Isbin said. "You look at it, and you really can't figure out what he's doing. It's so awesome."
Lubambo, called an "ebullient acoustic guitarist" by a JazzTimes reviewer, left Rio de Janeiro for the United States in 1985. He uses the styles and rhythms of his native Brazil, plus a fluency in American jazz traditions, to forge a distinctive style.
"Romero has a wonderful imagination," Isbin said. "So when he takes the instrument and gives it Brazilian flavor and a bossa nova beat, you're intoxicated."
Isbin, Lubambo and company tour manager Marya Glur are scheduled to speak at Artistic Viewpoints, an informal moderated discussion that begins one hour before the concert, in Eisenhower. Artistic Viewpoints often fills to capacity, so seating is available on a first-arrival basis.