Winner of the 2015 ASCAP Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson Television Broadcast Award, this one-hour documentary portrait of multiple GRAMMY-winning guitarist Sharon Isbin shows us a trailblazing performer and teacher who over the course of her career has broken through numerous barriers to rise to the top of a traditionally male-dominated field. Sharon Isbin: Troubadour, produced by Susan Dangel, explores what it takes to nurture a dream against all odds to become a world class musician. It has been seen by millions through American Public Television’s broadcast on over 200 public television stations throughout the U.S. since November 2014.
Performances are showcased from international concert stages, the GRAMMY Awards and the White House. Guests and interviews include Joan Baez, Martina Navratilova, First Lady Michelle Obama, Garrison Keillor and David Hyde Pierce; rock legends Steve Vai, Janis Ian and Leslie Gore; composers Tan Dun, John Corigliano, Christopher Rouse and Joan Tower; jazz greats Stanley Jordan and Paul Winter; fiddler Mark O’Connor; and many others.
Narrated by NPR’s Susan Stamberg, the film combines performance and documentary focusing on Sharon Isbin’s unusual and inspiring journey which has expanded and transformed the landscape of the instrument.
In addition, the film explores her role as teacher of a new generation of guitarists at both The Juilliard School, where she created the first guitar department, and the Aspen Music Festival. The documentary explores how Isbin’s career has intersected with many different aspects of today’s musical world beyond the realm of classical music. This includes television, film music, NASA, and collaborations with other contemporary musicians from the rock, pop, folk, jazz and Latin genres.