Amjad Ali KhanSarod Sharon IsbinGuitar Amaan Ali BangashSarod Ayaan Ali BangashSarod

Sharon Isbin and Amjad Ali Khan

Presented in association with OMNI Foundation for the Performing Arts

Saturday, February 22, 2025 |  7:30pm

Herbst TheatreVenue Information


About This Performance

Crossing barriers of language and culture and uniting people through music, classical guitarist Sharon Isbin and sarod master Amjad Ali Khan find common ground in their respective classical traditions of ragas and European medieval music, interweaving musical, spiritual, and artistic legacies. Sharon Isbin is “one of the best classical guitarists in the world” (Boston Globe). Amjad Ali Khan is “a big draw, whatever and wherever he performs” (The Times of India).

Artist Information

Performer Biographies

Acclaimed for her extraordinary lyricism, technique, and versatility, multiple Grammy® Award winner Sharon Isbin was named the 2020 Musical America Worldwide Instrumentalist of the Year, the first guitarist ever to receive the coveted honor in its 59-year award history. Hailed as “the pre-eminent guitarist of our time,” she is the winner of Guitar Player magazine’s Best Classical Guitarist award, Germany’s Echo Klassik, Concert Artists Guild’s Virtuoso Award, the Toronto and Madrid Queen Sofia competitions, and the first guitarist to win the Munich ARD Competition. Isbin has appeared as a soloist with over 200 orchestras and has given sold-out performances in many of the world’s finest halls across 40 countries, including New York’s Carnegie and Geffen Halls, Boston’s Symphony Hall, Washington D.C.’s Kennedy Center, Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center, London’s Barbican and Wigmore Halls, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, Paris’ Châtelet, Vienna’s Musikverein, Munich’s Herkulessaal, Argentina’s Teatro Colón, and Madrid’s Teatro Real. She has served as Artistic Director and soloist of festivals she created for Carnegie Hall and the Ordway Music Theatre (St. Paul), New York’s 92NY, and the national radio series Guitarjam.

American Public Television’s presentation of the acclaimed one-hour documentary Sharon Isbin: Troubadour has been seen by millions on over 200 PBS stations across the U.S. and abroad. Winner of the ASCAP Television Broadcast Award, the film is available with bonus performances on DVD, Blu-ray, and Amazon streaming. Other recent national performances on PBS include the Billy Joel Gershwin Prize with Josh Groban, and Tavis Smiley. A frequent guest on NPR’s All Things Considered and A Prairie Home Companion, Isbin has been featured on television throughout the world, including CBS Sunday Morning, Showtime’s The L Word, and as a soloist on the Grammy-nominated soundtrack of Scorsese’s Oscar-winning The Departed. She performed at Ground Zero for the first internationally televised 9/11 memorial, in concert at the White House by invitation of President Obama, and as the only classical artist in the 2010 Grammy Awards. She has been profiled in periodicals from People to Elle, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, as well as appearing on the covers of over 50 magazines.

Isbin’s catalog of over 35 albums from Baroque, Spanish/Latin and 20th Century to crossover and jazz-fusion, has sold nearly a million copies and reflects her remarkable versatility. Her two recent recordings were named Best of 2020 and feature world premieres composed for her: Affinity showcasing Chris Brubeck’s dazzling guitar concerto, along with works by Leo Brouwer, Tan Dun, Antonio Lauro, and Richard Danielpour; and Strings for Peace with India’s legendary Amjad Ali Khan in a program of ragas for guitar, sarod and tabla. Her 2019 Souvenirs of Spain & Italy with the Pacifica Quartet showcases beautiful and rarely heard guitar quintets from the Baroque to mid-20th century, including works by Vivaldi, Boccherini and Castelnuovo-Tedesco, and debuted at number one on Amazon and number two on Billboard; her Alma Española with opera star Isabel Leonard, the first Spanish art song album with guitar of its kind in 40 years, was honored with a 2018 Grammy Award for Producer of the Year. She appears as a guest artist on bluegrass star Alison Brown’s album On Banjo released in 2023.

Sharon Isbin has been acclaimed for expanding the guitar repertoire with some of the finest new works of our time and has premiered over 80 works written for her by world-renowned composers, including more concerti than any other guitarist, as well as numerous solo and chamber works. Works for her by John Corigliano, Joseph Schwantner, and Lukas Foss are featured on her American Landscapes, the first-ever recording of American guitar concerti. (In November 1995, it was launched in the space shuttle Atlantis and presented to Russian cosmonauts during a rendezvous with Mir.) She premiered Concert de Gaudí by Christopher Rouse with Christoph Eschenbach and the NDR Symphony, followed by the U.S. premiere with the Dallas Symphony. Among many other composers who have written for her are Joan Tower, David Diamond, Aaron Jay Kernis, Leo Brouwer, Howard Shore, Ned Rorem, and Ami Maayani, with highlights including John Duarte’s Joan Baez Suite and a duo by rock guitarist Steve Vai which they performed in Paris’ Théâtre du Châtelet. Recent premieres of works written for her include Of Love and Longing by Richard Danielpour, co-commissioned by Carnegie Hall for its 125th anniversary and by Chicago’s Harris Theater; Affinity: Concerto for Guitar & Orchestra by Chris Brubeck which honors his father Dave Brubeck; Song of a Dreaming Sparrow by Schwantner which she premieres with the Pacifica Quartet in New York City and on tour in November 2022; and the North American premiere of Tan Dun’s Yi2 concerto in January 2023.

As a chamber musician, Isbin has performed with the Emerson String Quartet and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, soprano Jessica Rivera, a Guitar Summit tour with jazz greats Herb Ellis, Stanley Jordan, and Michael Hedges, trio recordings with Larry Coryell and Laurindo Almeida, and duo recordings with Carlos Barbosa-Lima. She collaborated with Antonio Carlos Jobim, and has shared the stage with luminaries from Aretha Franklin to Muhammad Ali.

Born in Minneapolis, Sharon Isbin began her guitar studies at age nine in Italy, and later studied with Andrès Segovia, Oscar Ghiglia, and for ten years with noted Bach scholar and keyboardist Rosalyn Tureck with whom she collaborated on landmark editions/recordings of the Bach lute suites for guitar (Warner Classics/G. Schirmer). She received a B.A. cum laude from Yale University and a Master of Music from the Yale School of Music. She authored the Classical Guitar Answer Book, and is Director of guitar departments at the Aspen Music Festival and The Juilliard School (which she created in l989, becoming the first and only guitar instructor in the institution’s 100-year history). Her students from over 20 countries are among the world’s leading performers and include four 1st Prize winners of the prestigious Guitar Foundation of America International Concert Artist Competition.

Sharon Isbin has been practicing Transcendental Meditation since age 17 and donates her time to perform benefits for the David Lynch Foundation, along with Katy Perry, Sting, Hugh Jackman, Jerry Seinfeld, and Jay Leno, to bring TM to at-risk communities. In her spare time, she enjoys trekking in the jungles of Latin America, cross-country skiing, snorkeling, and mountain hiking. Please visit her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

“One of the 20th century’s greatest masters of the Sarod.” —Songlines World Music Magazine, UK 2003

He was 6 years old when Amjad Ali Khan gave his first recital of Sarod. It was the beginning of yet another glorious chapter in the history of Indian classical music. Taught by his father, Haafiz Ali Khan, Amjad Ali Khan was born to the illustrious Bangash lineage rooted in the Senia Bangash School of Music. Today he shoulders the sixth generation of inheritance in this legendary lineage.

After his debut, the career graph of this musical legend took the speed of light, and on its way, the Indian classical music scene witnessed regular and scintillating bursts of Raga supernovas. Thus, the world saw the Sarod being given a new and yet timeless interpretation by Amjad Ali Khan. Khan is one of the few maestros who consider his audience to be the soul of his motivation. As he once said, "There is no essential difference between classical and popular music. Music is music. I want to communicate with the listener who finds Indian classical music remote."

He has performed at the WOMAD Festival in Adelaide and New Plymouth, Edinburgh Music Festival, World Beat Festival in Brisbane, Taranaki in New Zealand, Summer Arts Festival in Seattle, BBC Proms, International Poets Festival in Rome, Shiraz Festival, UNESCO, Hong Kong Arts Festival, Adelaide Music Festival, 1200 Years celebration of Frankfurt WOMAD Rivermead Festival, UK, and ‘Schonbrunn’ in Vienna

He is a recipient of the UNESCO Award, Padma Vibhushan (Highest Indian civilian award), Unicef's National Ambassadorship, The Crystal Award by the World Economic Forum, and Honorary Doctorates from the Universities of York in 1997, England, Delhi University in 1998, Rabindra Bharati University in 2007, Kolkata and the Vishva Bharti (Deshikottam) in Shantiniketan in 2001. He represented India in the first World Arts Summit in Venice in 1991, received Honorary Citizenship to the States of Texas (1997), Massachusetts (1984), Tennessee (1997), the city of Atlanta, Georgia (2002), Albuquerque, NM (2007) and the Key of the City of Tulsa, Oklahoma and Fort Lauderdale, Miami. April 20th, 1984, was declared as Amjad Ali Khan Day in Boston, Massachusetts. In 1995, Mr. Khan was awarded the Gandhi UNESCO Medal in Paris for his composition Bapukauns. In 2003, the maestro received “Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters” by the French Government and the Fukuoka Cultural Grand Prize in Japan in 2004.

His collaborations include a piece composed for the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Yoshikazu Fukumora titled Tribute to Hong Kong, duets with guitarist Charley Byrd, Violinist Igor Frolov, Suprano Glenda Simpson, Guitarist Alvaro Pierri, Guitarist Barry Mason, Cellist Claudio Bohorquez and UK based Cellist Matthew Barley. He has been a visiting professor at Stanford University, Indiana University, York University, Washington University, Stony Brook, North Eastern University, and New Mexico University. BBC Magazine had voted one of his recent CDs titled Bhairav among the best 50 classical albums of the world for the year 1995. In 1994, his name was included biographically in the International Directory of Distinguished Leadership, 5th edition. In 1999, Mr. Khan inaugurated the World Festival of Sacred Music with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. In 1998, Khan composed the signature tune for the 48th International Film Festival.

Recently, the Khans collaborated with American Folk artist Carrie Newcomer at the Lotus Arts Festival in Bloomington. On the ninth anniversary of 9/11, Amjad Ali Khan gave a Peace Concert at the United Nations in New York in the presence of the UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki-Moon.

He has been a regular performer at the Carnegie Hall, Royal Albert Hall, Royal Festival Hall, Kennedy Center, Sanctuary Hall (First Indian performer), House of Commons, Theater Dela ville, Musee Guimet, ESPLANADE in Singapore, Victoria Hall in Geneva, Chicago Symphony Center, Palais Beaux-arts, Mozart Hall in Frankfurt, St. James Palace and the Opera House in Australia.

Artist Videos

Sharon Isbin Plays Albéniz’s Asturias

Amjad Ali Khan Plays Rain Ragas at Southbank Centre in London