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Royal Conservatoire’s chart-topping classical guitarist shortlisted for BBC Music Magazine Award

Sean Shibe, chart-topping classical guitarist and a graduate of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, has been nominated for one of the world’s biggest prizes in classical music following the success of his celebrated debut album.

The Edinburgh-born guitarist, who graduated from RCS in 2012 with a Bachelor of Music (Honours), has been shortlisted in the Instrumental category of the prestigious BBC Music Magazine Awards for his release, Dreams and Fancies. Released on the Delphian label, the album shines a light on works by English composers like Walton, Berkeley, Dowland, Arnold and Britten.

The awards, now in their 13th year, recognise the very best recordings from the past year, giving international acclaim to both emerging and established artists. Previous winners include conductor Valery Gergiev, pianist Ivana Gavrić, cellist David Watkin and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.

Professor Jeffrey Sharkey, Principal, says: “It is wonderful to see another RCS almunus achieve recognition for this world-renowned award. It is an outstanding accomplishment and reflects the deep connections that our graduates and contemporary artists are making with audiences internationally. Sean’s nomination is a source of immense pride for the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.”

Professor Allan Neave, Head of Guitar says: “We are thrilled to see Sean nominated in the Instrumentalist category – we have watched him grow and develop as an artist throughout his studies at RCS and we’re delighted to see one of our guitar graduates recognised on such a prestigious, international stage.”

A jury of expert critics selected this year’s 21 nominees across seven categories from more than 200 longlisted recordings reviewed in 2017 by BBC Music Magazine. The honours, which recognise the very best recordings of the past year, are the only classical music awards in which the main categories are voted for by the public, with the public vote now open at the magazine’s website.

Sean’s nomination comes after a momentous few months for Royal Conservatoire students and alumni.

  • In June, mezzo-soprano Catriona Morison triumphed in the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition, a globally recognised showcase for the finest young international opera and concert singers at the start of their careers. Catriona was one of 400 entrants before being selected for the final 20 alongside fellow Royal Conservatoire of Scotland graduates Anush Hovhannisyan and Dominic Barberi.
  • Fellow mezzo-soprano and current student, Svetlina Stoyanova, won the Neue Stimmen competition in October. The Bulgarian performer saw off more than 1,400 entries to win the prestigious competition.
  • In November, design graduate Basia Binkowska was named winner of the prestigious Linbury Prize for Stage Design in its 30th anniversary year. Basia, who graduated in 2016 from the BA Production Arts and Design programme, was the first graduate of the institution to win the biennial award.
  • At the end of 2017, undergraduate student Kyle MacCorquodale was appointed to the position of Principal Bass Trombone with the Hallé Orchestra following a competitive audition process.

Born in Edinburgh in 1992 of Scottish and Japanese heritage, Sean Shibe followed his studies at the Royal Conservatoire Paolo Pegoraro in Italy. In 2012 he became the first guitarist to be selected for the BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist scheme and is the only solo guitarist to be awarded a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship. He was selected by Young Classical Artists Trust in 2015.

Sean has given recitals at Wigmore Hall, the Heidelberger-Frühling, Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Bath International, Cambridge Summer and Aldeburgh Festivals. As a concerto soloist Sean has appeared with the BBC Scottish Symphony, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales and BBC Symphony Orchestras.

Oliver Condy, editor of BBC Music Magazine, said: “This year’s nominations are breath taking, not only in their standards of recording and performance, but in their wide-reaching scope. From the grandeur of Mahler’s Third Symphony to the intimacy of Schubert’s late piano sonatas, the BBC Music Magazine Awards again showcase classical music in all its magnificent variety.”

There are seven categories open to the public vote: Orchestral, Concerto, Opera, Choral, Vocal, Chamber and Instrumental. Audio excerpts are available on the voting site, and all UK voters will be entered into a draw to win copies of the nominations.

The winners of the awards will be announced at a ceremony on 5 April at Kings Place, London. In addition to the public awards, there are four jury awards: Premiere Recording, Newcomer of the Year, DVD of the Year and Recording of the Year. This year’s jury members are: Nicholas Anderson, critic, author of Baroque Music – from Monteverdi to Handel; Oliver Condy, editor, BBC Music Magazine; Rebecca Franks, chair of awards jury; reviews editor, BBC Music Magazine; Erica Jeal, deputy editor, Opera; classical critic, The Guardian; Andrew McGregor, presenter BBC Radio 3’s Record Review; David Nice, writer, lecturer, broadcaster; Kate Wakeling, writer, musicologist.

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