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Grammy-Winning Isbin Ignites RPO with Passion of the Guitar

January 24, 2008

RPO Sizzles in Concert Featuring Spanish and Latin Music

Rochester, NY – The hot and spicy rhythms of Spanish and Latin American music will raise the temperature at the Eastman Theatre, as Grammy Award-winning guitarist Sharon Isbin -- under Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik – and the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra turn up the heat with Spanish & Latin Classics at 8 p.m. on Thursday, February 7 and Saturday, February 9, 2008.  Jeff Tyzik will host the pre-concert chat at 7:00 p.m.

Isbin will perform three short works arranged by Tyzik on the program’s first half: Vals Venezolano No. 3 by Venezuelan Antonio Lauro, one of the South America’s foremost composers, Berceuse - Cancion de Cuna (Cradle Song) by Cuban guitarist and composer Leo Brouwer, and Batucada, a fast virtuosic work using typical Afro-Brazilian dance rhythms by Brazilian composer Isaias Savio.  The famous Concierto de Aranjuez for Guitar and Orchestra by Spanish composer Joaquin Rodrigo is the centerpiece of the program, making superb coloristic use of both soloist and orchestra equally.  The main theme in the second movement was inspired by the saeta, a centuries-old, improvised lament sung by Spanish gypsy women during Holy Week processions.

Acclaimed for her extraordinary lyricism, technique and versatility, Sharon Isbin has been hailed as the pre-eminent guitarist of our time. Isbin began her studies at age nine in Italy, and later studied with the great guitarists Andrès Segovia and Oscar Ghiglia and with pianist Rosalyn Tureck.  Isbin has appeared as soloist with more than 160 orchestras nationally and abroad, and received the 2001 Grammy Award for “Best Instrumental Soloist,” making her the first classical guitarist in 28 years to win a Grammy.  An exclusive recording artist with Teldec, Isbin has made more than 20 recordings, and has been acclaimed for expanding the guitar repertoire with some of the finest new works of the century.  She has recorded the world premieres of concerti written for her by Academy Award-winning composer Tan Dun and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Christopher Rouse.  Her latest release with the New York Philharmonic has resulted in the additional distinction of becoming the first guitarist ever to record – and only the second guitarist to perform – with that orchestra.  Isbin also is featured on the soundtrack of Martin Scorsese’s Academy Award-winning film, The Departed.  When not performing, Isbin directs the guitar departments at the Aspen Music Festival and The Juilliard School.

The Orchestra also performs Carlos Surinach’s Feria Magica (Magic Fair), Astor Piazzolla’s Tangazo and Alberto Ginastera’s Four Dances from Estancia. Joining the RPO to close the program is the Eastman-Rochester Chorus in Claudio Santoro’s Symphony No. 4 (Symphony of Peace).  In 1952, the Brazilian Santoro was presented with the International Peace Prize by the World Peace Council in recognition of his Song of Love and Peace.  The following year, Santoro composed this fourth symphony, continuing his interest in the subject.  Not only does it contain the expected powerful rhythms and exotic Brazilian colors, but also numerous passages of serene contemplation.  The Finale introduces a chorus with text from Antonieta Dias de Morais e Silva’s Poem of Peace.

Tickets for these performances are $20-$55, available online 24/7 at www.rpo.org, by phone (454-2100); in person from the RPO Box Office, Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (non-concert Saturdays, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.); and seven days a week at area Wegmans.  A convenience fee may apply.

The Philharmonics Series is sponsored by The Eastman Kodak Company and Bausch & Lomb.  The RPO gratefully acknowledges PAETEC Communications Inc. for the PAETEC Philharmonic Partners program, which offers discounted Philharmonics Series tickets to local college students. 

Celebrating its 85th season in 2007-08, the RPO inspires and enriches the community through the art of music.  The Orchestra is passionately dedicated to outstanding musical performance at the highest artistic levels, and has a unique
tradition of musical versatility, commitment to music education in the broadest sense and a deep and enduring engagement with the community.  The RPO has been honored with the New York State Governor’s Arts Award and two recent ASCAP awards for adventurous programming.  RPO performances are made possible in part with grants from the National Endowment for the Arts; the New York State Council on the Arts, a State Agency; the State of New York; Monroe County and the City of Rochester. 

Note:  Photos of Ms. Isbin are available.  Interviews may be available upon request.

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