Sean Shibe

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Sean Shibe
Sean Shibe records with Delphian Records in Crichton Church
Sean Shibe records with Delphian Records in Crichton Church
Background information
Born1992 (age 28–29)
Edinburgh, Scotland
InstrumentsClassical Guitar, Electric Guitar, Lute
Associated actsPaolo Pegoraro
WebsiteOfficial website

Sean Shibe (/ʃɔːn ˈʃbə/ shawn SHEE-bə;[1] born 1992) is a classical and electric guitarist from Edinburgh, Scotland, UK. He is of English and Japanese ancestry.[2] He studied at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (and was the youngest student to enter the then Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama)[3] and with Italian guitarist Paolo Pegoraro.[4] He is frequently referred to as the foremost guitarist of his generation;[5][failed verification] his debut album described as "not just great guitar playing... the best [the jury] had ever heard".[6] by BBC Music Magazine and "the best solo guitar disc I've heard" by The Arts Desk.[7]

Shibe also plays electric guitar, as on his 2018 album softLOUD, on which he performs Steve Reich's Electric Counterpoint, as well as electric guitar arrangements of works by David Lang and Julia Wolfe. Sean Shibe also performs Georges Lentz's epic, hour-long Ingwe for solo electric guitar.

Shibe also plays renaissance lute, performing 16th Century French repertoire at Baroque at the Edge, LSO St. Lukes.[8]

Early life[edit]

Shibe was born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1992.[4][9][10][11][12] His mother is from Japan.[13] He attended the City of Edinburgh Music School,[13] as the only guitar student, until he was 14. He then moved to Aberdeen City Music School to study with Allan Neave before leaving at 16 to begin the Bachelor of Music course at the then Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. He graduated in 2012 with first class honours.[14]


Shibe has performed as soloist with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Trondheim Symphony Orchestra, Royal Northern Sinfonia and Sinfonia Viva.[citation needed] He has performed at the Brighton Festival,[15] Aldeburgh Festival, St. Magnus Festival, East Neuk Festival and Marlboro Festival and Summer School.[citation needed] He made his Wigmore Hall debut in 2012 and has performed there annually since.[16]

In 2014 he performed Alasdair Nicolson's piece Magnus, written specially for the event, at an 80th birthday celebration for Peter Maxwell Davies at Glasgow City Halls.[17]

He was one of BBC Radio 3's New Generation Artists for 2012-2014, and performed with the BBC Singers in a concert broadcast live from St Paul's Church, Knightsbridge in January 2015.[18] His performances appeared on the cover disc of the February 2016 edition of BBC Music Magazine.[19]

'Dreams & Fancies', his 2017 debut album released on Delphian Records, entered the UK Classical Specialist Charts at No.3.[20] BBC Radio 3's Record Review said of the album: "It's not often a guitar recital leaves me slightly stunned, but this one did. Just listen to the sound, the way Shibe changes the colour even during a phrase... what a seductive sound, incredibly clean playing, and almost miraculous changes of colour and timbre, never empty gestures, always to articulate the counterpoint and phrasing. Inspired by Julian Bream's pioneering spirit perhaps, but this is playing on an exalted level... If you only buy one guitar recital this year - it's called Dreams & Fancies."[5] Graham Rickson at The Arts Desk wrote: "This is the best solo guitar disc I've heard."[7]

Shibe's second full solo album, 'softLOUD', received the inaugural Gramophone Award for Concept Album of the Year. Martin Cullingford, writing in Gramophone Magazine, said: "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. Our inaugural winner was a personal reaction to events: the EU referendum, the American elections, the murder of a British MP on the streets of her constituency... ‘Have we today forgotten how to speak softly and with grace; or is the real danger that we aren’t screaming loudly enough?’ asks Shibe in the sleeves notes, but, ultimately, through the programme itself. ‘softLOUD’ is a fascinating answer to the question of what, today, an album can do, and be."[21]

In March 2020 Shibe performed 'Ingwe' at "ear splitting volume"[22] at Wigmore Hall, resulting in over 20 audience members leaving the recital.[23]

Shibe's third album on Delphian, titled BACH won Gramophone Magazine Editor's Choice and sat at the top of the UK Official Charts for seven weeks.

In 2020, Shibe signed an exclusive, multi-album agreement with Pentatone.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Michael White, Sean Shibe (23 February 2021). Sean Shibe - At Wigmore Hall (Concert broadcast). London: Wigmore Hall. Retrieved 16 March 2021.
  2. ^ "Biography". Sean Shibe. 25 September 2008. Retrieved 16 August 2018.
  3. ^ "Sean Shibe". BBC Music. Retrieved 19 June 2016.
  4. ^ a b "Young Classical Artists Trust". YCAT. Retrieved 12 March 2016.
  5. ^ a b "Sean Shibe". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 February 2019.
  6. ^ "BBC Music Magazine Awards 2018". Retrieved 24 February 2019.
  7. ^ a b "Classical CDs Weekly: Classical CDs Weekly: Sean Shibe, Morten Gunnar Larsen and Leonard Elschenbroich". Retrieved 25 February 2019.
  8. ^ "London Symphony Orchestra - ONLINE EVENT: Sean Shibe's Danse Eternelle | Baroque at the Edge". Retrieved 24 December 2020.
  9. ^ "Sean Shibe (guitar) - 10 - 2015 - Events - Public events - Home". Retrieved 12 March 2016.
  10. ^ "Sean Shibe - Fellowship Winner 2012 - Borletti-Buitoni Trust". 25 March 2015. Retrieved 12 March 2016.
  11. ^ Ken Walton (22 November 2012). "Interview: Guitarist Sean Shibe on his rollercoaster year of studying and performing". The Scotsman. Retrieved 12 March 2016.
  12. ^ "Sean Shibe - New Songs, Playlists, Videos & Tours". BBC Music. Retrieved 12 March 2016.
  13. ^ a b "Guitarist is in tune to pick up key music prize". The Scotsman. 14 December 2009. Retrieved 19 June 2016.
  14. ^ "six-string driven thing". The Herald. Glasgow. 23 June 2012. Retrieved 19 June 2016.
  15. ^ "Sean Shibe, Pavilion Theatre, Brighton, May 25". The Argus. 28 May 2012. Retrieved 19 June 2016.
  16. ^ "Advanced Search". Wigmore Hall. Retrieved 24 February 2019.
  17. ^ Molleson, Kate (15 September 2014). "Max at 80 review – a homecoming among friends". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 June 2016.
  18. ^ "BBC Singers and Sean Shibe". BBC Radio 3. Retrieved 19 June 2016.
  19. ^ Tumelty, Michael (20 February 2016). "Following the talent of our young musicians". The Herald. Retrieved 20 June 2016.
  20. ^ "Official Specialist Classical Chart Top 30 | Official Charts Company". Retrieved 24 February 2019.
  21. ^ a b "Concept Album". Gramophone. Retrieved 24 December 2020.
  22. ^ "Shock-waves and silence from Sean Shibe at Wigmore Hall – Seen and Heard International". Retrieved 7 January 2021.
  23. ^ Fisher, Neil. "Sean Shibe review — guitarist who dazzled and dazed". ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 7 January 2021.
  24. ^ "The Musicians' Company | Ivor Mairants Guitar Award". Retrieved 24 February 2019.
  25. ^ Parkin, Geoff. "Music Alumni". Royal Over-Seas League (ROSL). Retrieved 24 February 2019.
  26. ^ "Biography - Sean Shibe". Borletti-Buitoni Trust. Retrieved 24 February 2019.
  27. ^ "Dreams & Fancies: English Music for Solo Guitar". Presto Classical. Retrieved 24 February 2019.
  28. ^ "Winners". Royal Philharmonic Society. Retrieved 24 February 2019.
  29. ^ "Classic BRIT Awards Sound of Classical poll shortlist revealed". Classic FM. Retrieved 24 February 2019.
  30. ^ a b "softLOUD: Music for Acoustic & Electric Guitars". Presto Classical. Retrieved 24 February 2019.

External links[edit]