Pentatone, Gramophone’s current Label of the Year, has announced the signing of the guitarist Sean Shibe. Shibe – whose latest album of Bach tops the Specialist Classical Chart and who was featured on Gramophone’s June front cover – will start this new relationship with an album of Spanish Impressionism linked to the French influences to be found on this music – Mompou, Poulenc, Falla and Ravel.
Commenting on the new relationship, Sean Shibe said ‘The artistic and aesthetic vision of Pentatone's releases – vitally, in some way always a reflection of the contemporary – marks them out as one of today’s leading labels. They deftly balance their genuine and refreshing commitment to new music with benchmark interpretations of canonical titans; an invigorating eclecticism. I’m delighted to begin the next stage in my recording career with Pentatone.’
Renaud Loranger, Pentatone’s Vice President A&R commented that ‘Further to his sheer technical prowess and staggering versatility, the mastery of style and of the instrument itself – or themselves, rather – it was one of those truly extraordinary and rarest of moments, when one realises he or she is in the presence of a unique artistic personality. We’re beyond excited that he is joining the Pentatone family.’
Sean Shibe has made three albums for the Scottish Delphian label, the first (English guitar music) and third (Bach lute suites) were named Editor’s Choices, while the second, the 2018 release ‘softLoud’, was given Gramophone’s inaugural Concept Album Award at the 2019 Gramophone Classical Awards. It combined pieces from the Scottish lute song manuscripts and by James MacMillan, played on the guitar, with Steve Reich’s Electric Counterpoint, Julia Wolfe’s LAD and David Lang’s Killer, played on the electric guitar. Announcing the Award, Gramophone’s Editor, Martin Cullingford, wrote ‘we wanted … to draw attention to those albums where a creative mind has curated something visionary, a programme whose whole speaks more powerfully than its parts. A thought-through journey, which compels to be heard in one sitting. A concept that makes a virtue of the genre … “softLOUD” is a fascinating answer to the question of what, today, an album can do, and be.’
Shibe, born in 1992, studied at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and with Paolo Pegoraro in Italy. He was the first guitarist to be selected for the BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artists scheme, and to be awarded a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship, and was selected for representation by the Young Classical Artists Trust artist between 2015-2017. In 2018, Sean Shibe became the first guitarist to receive the Royal Philharmonic Society Award for Young Artists.
Sean Shibe’s commitment to expanding the repertoire for the guitar sees him passionately championing new music, as well as commissioning new works; recent and future performances include new works by James MacMillan, Daniel Kidane, Brian Bolger, David Fennessy, Sofia Gubaidulina, and the premiere of a reworked version of Georges Lentz’s Ingwe, in collaboration with the composer himself. New commissions include Lliam Paterson, David Fennessy, Freya Waley-Cohen and Sylvia Villa.
He was, most recently, one of the artists to give a concert in the new series from London's Wigmore Hall performed live, without an audience, and broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and streamed live via the Wigmore Hall's website (the stream remains available to watch).