Internationally acclaimed violinist Shem Guibbory, an award winning soloist and chamber musician, has created a important mark on the face of today’s music world as a talented performer, an artistic producer, and a successful entrepreneur. Long hailed for his interpretations of 20th Century music, his recording of Violin Phase (Steve Reich) on the ECM label has become an American classic of avant-garde music.
Mr. Guibbory founded Innovative Music Programs in 2002 and has developed a series of imaginative musical programs with performers, composers and visual artists. These programs reflect his work developing an expressive performance language derived from the intrinsic unity of the Arts.
“By nature and by choice, I look for the commonality in all things musical and artistic in our culture and all cultures,” he says. “Those things that tie us together as human beings are part of the driving force in my creative process. I believe that Art has a potency that is as just as relevant to today’s societies as ever before.”
Throughout his career, Mr. Guibbory has sought out and found imaginative ways to use new and old music to bring mutual understanding to the global community. With co-creator and director Margaret Booker and writer Robert Schenkkan, he created the musical fable A Night at the Alhambra Café (2002-2008).
Mr. Guibbory’s current work includes the music programs Journey of 100, Evolution of a 21st Century Violinist, Memories and Reflections (Enesco and Laytin). He is also developing a new performance work featuring Russian/American artist Grisha Bruskin and Irish/American painter Timothy Hawkesworth entitled “Accidental Heroes”.
His latest CD, Voice of the People (2010), received excellent reviews; it combines Gabriela Lena Frank’s Peruvian-influenced music with Dimitri Shostokovich’s Sonata For Violin And Piano, Op.137 (1968), and “it illustrates people’s attempt to find their own slice of humanity within the chaos of life…I believe that when we communicate with people through their arts, it’s far easier to understand them.”
Since 1992, Mr. Guibbory has been a member of the first violin section of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and has appeared as soloist with the New York Philharmonic, the Beethoven Halle Orchestra, the Kansas City Symphony and the Symphony of the New World. He was the original violinist in the Steve Reich Ensemble and has performed recitals and chamber music throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe. He has also recorded five CDs with Anthony Davis, including Maps, a violin concerto commissioned by the Kansas City Symphony (recorded Gramavision).
Mr. Guibbory has received fellowships from the Rockefeller Foundation (Bellagio), the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and Spain’s Centre por Ars y Natura. He has been a faculty member of the Bennington Chamber Music Conference for over three decades, during which time he served as Music Director for nine consecutive years. As Music Director he has twice been honored with the ASCAP/CMA Award for Adventurous Programming.
Close associates have included such extraordinary composers as Steve Reich, Ornette Coleman, Muhal Richard Abrams, Douglas Cuomo, Jeffrey Levine, Earl Howard, and Anthony Davis. He has premiered over 60 new compositions, of which 30 were written expressly for him. Additionally, he has collaborated with numerous dance companies, has served as co- director of NovEnsemble with choreographer Joan Lombardi, and toured with Belgian choreographer Anne-Theresa de Keersmaker. He was one of the lead artistic producers of West Goes East, a 30-year retrospective of CalArts alumni performances, which sold out its four New York City performances.
A graduate of the California Institute of the Arts, he has served as co-chair of the Special Projects Committee of the CalArts Alumni Association (2005-2009) and presently serves on the Board of Directors of the Recording Musicians’ Association, NY Chapter (2011 – present).
Mr. Guibbory made his recital debut at New York City’s Alice Tully Hall in 1988. His recordings can be found on the ECM, Gramavision, Opus 1, DG, Albany, Bridge, MSR Classics and CRI labels. His principal Violin teachers were Broadus Erle, Romuald Tecco, Evelyn Read and Sophie Feuermann.