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Karim Sulayman and Sean Shibe, two fascinating artists with wide-ranging performance interests and big ideas, come together for a beautifully eclectic recital that examines the relationship between the East and the West. The program brings together 16th- and 17th-century Italian and English works; traditional Sephardic and Arab-Andalusian songs; Benjamin Britten’s settings of translated poems, Songs from the Chinese; 20th-century and contemporary compositions; and more.
Lebanese-American tenor Karim Sulayman, a 2019 Grammy Award winner for Best Classical Solo Vocal, is a sophisticated and versatile artist consistently praised for his sensitive and intelligent musicianship, riveting stage presence, and beautiful voice. Sulayman earns acclaim for his thought-provoking programming and recording projects, and maintains a busy career on the world’s opera and concert stages, in programs that range from often-heard classical favorites to new work, to audacious commissions and curatorial projects. In 2022, he debuted the widely acclaimed Unholy Wars, a program that recontextualizes Italian Renaissance music about the Crusades through an Arab-American lens and pairs it with new work by American composer Mary Kouyoumdjian.
One of the most versatile guitarists performing today, Scottish guitarist Sean Shibe’s innovative approach to his instrument has enhanced his reputation for being “the most interesting voice on the guitar for a generation” (Gramophone). A great admirer of the masterful composers of the past, Shibe is equally committed to new music. Alongside his transcriptions of Bach’s lute suites and 17th-century Scottish lute manuscripts, he continues to explore, experiment, and expand the repertoire for his instrument with recent works and new commissions, including a solo work by Thomas Adès and a new collaboration with Cassandra Miller and Dunedin Consort.