Gilbert Isbin

Gilbert Isbin is one of the most interesting, dynamic and poetic composers writing for guitars and lutes today. As his website informs us, “Isbin’s compositional and performing style defies genre, blending elements of contemporary classical, jazz, early music, world music and improvisation.” He lives in Brugges, Belgium.

When I asked Gilbert if he had any compositions for plectrum guitar, he immediately enthused about the project, commencing with rewriting some pieces which were originally composed for fingerstyle, before conceiving new works. Two influences he has mentioned to me include the great Bill Evans, and John McLaughlin, and I hear slight traces of both in these works, though they mostly speak of his own unique voice.

First: “Awakening”…


All Our Yesterdays:


And something Gilbert describes as a sort of Blues, Troubled:


Quite Blue:


A Satisfied Mind:


I asked Gilbert if he would write student-level compositions for plectrum guitar, and he responded with the following beautiful pieces: