MSO has Spanish flair

January 21, 2001

MSO has Spanish flair

By KATE COLEMAN / Staff Writer

photo: RIC DUGAN / staff photographer

Sharon IsbinGuitarist Sharon Isbin soloed with the Maryland Symphony Orchestra once before several years ago, but for some in the audience, Sunday's performance was the first time they had ever experienced classical guitar with an orchestra.

"What an opportunity to see her in Hagerstown," said Susan Ewing. "It's fabulous. She's fabulous," she said.

"I like the music," said Elizabeth Ewing, 5 1/2, who came to the concert with her mother. Snowy weather kept Susan Ewing and her husband from Saturday night's performance, so Elizabeth came along on Sunday, when Saturday's tickets were accommodated.

"She's wonderful," said Cheryl Scrivener of Hagerstown. She attends MSO performances fairly often and said that Isbin was the first classical guitarist she heard solo with a symphony.


"It's really beautiful," said Barbara Iobst at intermission. The resident of Quincy Village in Quincy, Pa., has been to hear the MSO three or four times. "I don't understand contemporary music very much, but I enjoy the guitar."

During Prelude, Music Director Elizabeth Schulze had described the program as a celebration of the "sounds of Spain." Sunday's program opened with Joaqun Turina's "Danzas fantsticas." Isbin joined the orchestra for "Concierto de Aranjuez" by Joaqun Rodrigo. During Prelude, the preconcert discussion, Isbin said that she had a 20-year friendship with the composer who died in 1999. Rodrigo, blind since the age of 3, managed to see the world in a different way and describe it elegantly in his music, Isbin said.

"She's exceptional," said Camille Cardone, who plays violin in Smithsburg Middle School's orchestra. "It's like breathless," Camille, 13, said of Isbin's playing.

Madelyn Marsden of Hagerstown called the guitarist "astonishing."

Phillip and Korri Sanchez of Greencastle, Pa., came to Sunday's MSO concert to hear Isbin. Both play guitar, and Korri Sanchez said she kind of got her husband into classical guitar a couple of years ago. She described Isbin's playing as "awesome."

"She's incredible, technically perfect," said Phillip Sanchez of the soloist.

John Corigliano's "Troubadours," commissioned by Isbin, opened the second half of the concert. The contemporary piece began with Isbin playing offstage. She strolled off, playing from backstage at the composition's end.

Schulze invited Isbin to play an unprogrammed encore. "It didn't take that much to convince me," Isbin told the audience.

She played - alone - Francisco Tarrega's "Recuerdos de la Alhambra," a piece on her Grammy-Award nominated CD, "Dreams of a World."

She received an enthusiastic standing ovation.

The concert concluded with de Falla's "The Three-Cornered Hat."

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