sharon isbin tackles 10 questions

well, another oregon symphony program is on the horizon, which means (you guessed it) another internationally renowned classical music phenom will be sitting in with the band.  from what the beavs can tell, sharon isbin is pretty much the hottest thing to happen to classical guitar in, like, ever.  she’s such a rockstar, in fact, that a public television documentary on her life and work is finally nearing completion after four years of filming.  yep.  i highly recommend checking out her *gorgeous, fully-loaded website for more info.  (right after you read this, of course…)

sharon, you’ll be performing a piece called fantasía para un gentilhombre with the oregon symphony ~ how would you describe this music?

It’s a tuneful, lyrical, beautiful work for guitar and orchestra by the great Spanish composer Joaquín Rodrigo in which he arranged and orchestrated court dances by the 17th-century Spanish guitarist/composer Gaspar Sanz.  I had the pleasure of a friendship with Rodrigo for 20 years.  We first met when he invited me to his home in Madrid after hearing my live broadcast of his Concierto de Aranjuez.

wowee, you’re bringing some serious tradition to the schnitzer stage!  pictures at an exhibition closes out the program ~ any thoughts on pairing this work with rodrigo’s composition?

Both are colorful works that explore imagery and imagination with evocative timbres.

i gave a listen to the *all things considered interview you gave with steve vai.  so, will there be a whammy bar on the axe you’re bringing to the schnitz?

Still working on that!

damn.  um, any future backpacking trips planned?

I hike in the Rocky Mountains each summer when I’m there directing the guitar program for the Aspen Music Festival.

oh, that sounds heavenly.  okay, you came out publicly a while back, so i’ll ask you the same question i asked pianist stephen hough […sigh…] and baritone sanford sylvan: any words of encouragement for us queers in america?

Be open and proud of who you are so that you can enjoy your life fully and encourage others to do the same.

amen sister!  and a follow-up question of sorts: um, wow… what was it like to be on the L word?

I enjoyed sharing the scene with wonderful cast members Jennifer Beals and Pam Grier.

i’ll have you know i sat through an entire episode just to see that scene.  i got the distinct impression this particular beaver is not part of the show’s target audience.  alright, switching gears here… what’s so great about experiencing classical music live?

You get to experience the excitement of hearing something that has never and will never happen again the same way, and to feel the powerful exchange of energy between the performers and audience.

indeed!  so ms. isbin, if i won a grammy, i would probably build an addition onto my house and enshrine it with spotlights and velvet ropes.  what did you do with yours?

I finally had something to put on top of my stereo speaker towers.

oh dear, my cat would break it in like a week tops.  let me buy you a drink: what are you having?

Hot chocolate from Jacques Torres.

muy caliente!  here it is, the final query: what are your expectations for the visit to rip city?

I’m looking forward to a wonderful and fun musical collaboration.  And to seeing Portland in the springtime, having been cross-country skiing near the Columbia River in the past.

if the sun’s out and you have the time, i recommend taking a leisurely stroll through southeast p-town (hawthorne & 34th-ish).  but beware: you’ll probably end up wanting to buy a little bungalow before you leave!  hey, thanks again for the interview – the beavs really, really appreciates it.  looking forward to seeing (and hearing) you monday night!  yay!

[and gentle reader, just in case you haven’t heard, the classical beaver is currently embroiled in a hotly contested national blogging competition… 9 bloggers remain and only four will go on to compete in the finals!  (gulp)  if you dug this interview and have 20 seconds to throw this rodent a vote, please check out for all the deets.  muchas gracias!]


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