Just a few years out of school, classical guitarist Sean Shibe quickly made a major impact with a powerful, fully formed style and novel programming ideas. He is also one of the few classical guitarists to emphasize the classical electric guitar in his repertory. Shibe was born in Edinburgh in 1992. He started the guitar as a youth, but nothing initially suggested the accomplishments to come: his instrument, he told the Scotsman, was a "20-quid guitar" his mother saw in a shop window and bought for him. His school happened to be giving guitar lessons at the time, so he signed up. He went on to study at the City of Edinburgh Music School (where he was the only guitar student) and City of Aberdeen Music School, but a key moment in his musical education came when he met with Allan Neave, the chief guitar tutor at the Royal Conservatoire Scotland. The teenage Shibe moved to Glasgow to study with Neave, graduating in 2013 (he was the school's youngest undergraduate ever) and also taking classes at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Dance. By that time, Shibe's career as a performer was well underway. In 2011, he won a Royal Over-Seas League award, and major festival appearances followed at Neuk, Lammermuir, and Brighton. From 2012 to 2014, he was a BBC New Generation Artist. In 2012, Shibe gave his solo debut at London's Wigmore Hall, and he has since performed there annually. He became known for both Romantic concertos (Rodrigo) and those by composers exploring a more modernist idiom (Takemitsu); his performing repertory also includes works by Malcolm Arnold. During this period, he continued his studies with Paolo Pegoraro in Graz, Austria. Shibe made his recorded debut in 2015, performing guitar pieces by Peter Maxwell Davies on a Linn album of music devoted to that composer. His solo debut followed two years later with an album of music by 20th century English composers surrounding a trio of pieces by John Dowland at the center. In 2017, Shibe toured China and developed his softLOUD project, a program of Scottish lute pieces juxtaposed with electric guitar works by Julia Wolfe and David Lang. Those albums were on the Delphian label, where Shibe has continued to record. In 2020, he issued the album Bach, featuring three lute compositions of that composer, played on the guitar. He has performed the hour-long electric guitar work Ingwe, by Georges Lentz, in concert.
© James Manheim /TiVo
© James Manheim /TiVo