Pulling some strings
by Bob Margolis
April 03, 2008 01:00 AM | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Many guitarists at the highest levels will find themselves calling on the master classical luthier of the Hudson Valley when in a pinch. Imagine being on the way to Carnegie Hall or other hallowed venue when something wrong happens to your axe. Call Thomas Humphrey, who toils in his Gardiner area studio, painstakingly birthing the highest quality nylon-stringed instruments to be found on the planet.

Well, regarding this weekend's blowout taking place at the Bardavon, the soft-spoken craftsman has pulled through once again. The Hudson Valley Philharmonic performance, originally set for April 5, was to feature the brilliant pianist Joyce Yang playing under the direction of HVP's maestro and music director/conductor Randall Craig Fleischer. But, as things go, both became unavailable.

Hark! A call was placed to Humphrey; he in turn opened his book of contacts, and voilà! The great Sharon Isbin agreed to do the gig under the baton of conductor/music director Elizabeth Schulze - she of National Symphony in Washington fame.

Pianists, violinists and cellists still rule the roost as the most frequent soloists with symphony orchestras; but classical guitarists are making increasing inroads. No artist has done more in the past couple of decades to promote that transformation than Isbin, who in 2004 became the first guitar soloist ever to make a recording with the New York Philharmonic. In all, she has appeared with more than 160 orchestras worldwide, including heavy-hitters such as the London Symphony.

In addition to Sharon Isbin performing Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez with HVP, the orchestra will also perform Richard Wilson's Silhouette and Beethoven's Symphony no.7, op.92, A Major. Joaquin Rodrigo's Concierto do Aranjuez (1939) is the most frequently performed concerto for the instrument. As the winner of the Queen Sofia International Guitar Competition in 1979, she played the latter work in a live broadcast on Spanish radio. Rodrigo heard the performance, sought her out and invited her to his home.

Tickets for the Hudson Valley Philharmonic with guitarist Sharon Isbin on Saturday, April 5 at 8 p.m. at the Bardavon are available from $24 to $44. Tickets are available at the Bardavon box office at 35 Market Street in Poughkeepsie, (845) 473-2072, or by calling TicketMaster at (845) 454-3388. This concert is sponsored by M & T Bank and La Bella Strings.

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