Is there a guitarist in the house? When Miloš Karadaglić, who was scheduled to play Rodrigo’s “Concierto de Aranjuez” with the National Symphony Orchestra next week, strained a muscle in his right hand, the NSO didn’t have to look far: Sharon Isbin, the Grammy-winning guitarist, was coming to DC for a recital at the Phillips Collection the same week. With four concerts in a row, Isbin is now in effect giving DC a mini-Isbin festival.
Isbin, 58, is something of a guitar pioneer, arguably America’s most prominent classical guitarist and an energetic proselytizer for her instrument, as a performer, commissioner of new works, and teacher. Some of her activities are captured on the hour-long documentary Sharon Isbin: Troubadour, which appeared last year; she also has an extensive catalogue of recordings, including the “Concierto de Aranjuez,” the most popular guitar concerto in the canon. Isbin has played it with the NSO in the past, and with the New York Philharmonic, and with dozens of other major orchestras around the world. Her Phillips Collection program on Sunday will include works by Granados, Tárrega, Albéniz, Brouwer, Montaña, Lauro and Mangoré, but if you don’t already have tickets, it’s too late anyway: the concert is sold out.
The NSO concerts are under the baton of the Ludovic Morlot, a gifted young French conductor who’s making waves and, happily, a lot of recordings as music director of the Seattle Symphony. The program also includes works by Berlioz, Ravel, and Dukas.
Isbin appears with the NSO on October 8th at 7 p.m., October 9th at 11:30 a.m., and October 10th at 8 p.m.