The Fascinating Story of Sharon Isbin

Sharon Isbin Playing Guitar (Wikipedia Image)

Sharon Isbin was born in Minneapolis, and she started her study of the guitar at the age of 9 in the country of Italy. Later on she studied with Andres Segovia and Oscar Ghiglia.

She went on to receive a B.A. cum laude from Yale, and from the Yale School of Music she earned her Master of Music. Ms. Isbin is the author of the book, “Classical Guitar Answer Book.” She is also director of departments of guitar at the Aspen Music Festival and at the Julliard School. The department at at Julliard was created by her in 1989 and she is the first and only guitar instructor in the history of the school of over 100 years.

Ms. Isbin has been heralded for the expansion of the guitar repertoire by introducing some of the finest works of this century. Her commissioning and premiers of more concerti than any other guitarist places her in a category of her own.

The list of composers and conductors who have written and conducted for her reads like a “who’s who” of music generally and her works speak for themselves. Appearing with everyone from Sting and Aretha Franklin to the New York Philharmonic, and then with the London Symphony and every other orchestra and classical artist in the world, she shows no signs of slowing down.

Her playing style is nothing short of virtuoso in that she plays the music as it is intended to be played. Playing all the classics and everything else in between, Ms. Isbin has a very precise and engaging style that is pin-point on in rhythm and style.

Her recordings have received rave reviews and several awards including “Critics’ Choice Recording of the Year.” “Recording of the Month, and Album of the Year” in guitar player. Her “American Landscapes” is the first ever concert written for a guitar player.

The Story Of Irving Berlin

If you don’t know who Irving Berlin is, then you are missing out on one of the greatest musical influences in American history. There are few that impacted the American Music industry quite like he did. If you get a chance to check out an Irving Berlin bio, you’ll learn some very cool things. Here is what you can expect to read about:

His Immigration To America

Any time that you can hear the story of someone looking to make it in America after coming in with literally nothing, you’re going to want to take notice. Everything about Berlin’s life prior to the beginning of his music career is fascinating: proof that everyone can make it and that sometimes your dreams really are worth following.

World War I and II Involvement

Although he wasn’t a fighter in either World War, Irving played a huge role in both victories. His music was a major rallying point at crucial times in the war, and his point of view on those times is very enlightening. You hear a ton of stories about the front, but it isn’t often that you get to hear about what was happening back at home.

Bringing America Through The Depression

The Great Depression was one of the toughest times in American history. How did we pull through as a people? FDR gets a ton of the credit, but Berlin shouldn’t be too far behind. His music kept people going when they had nothing to go for, as you’ll learn in this biography.

Seems interesting, right? Irving lived a life that very few people can fathom, and his biography is full of stories that will captivate anyone that has an investment in the world of music. Finding a copy of his biography will be fairly easy too, just browse on over to your eBook seller of choice and pick up a copy.

Ignaz Friedman Bio – Famous Polish Composer & Pianist


Ignaz Friedman was an accomplished and well-renowned pianist and composer during the early to mid 20th century. He actually began his career as a child during the late 19th century as a prodigy, studying with some of the greats.

Friedman left and fled to Australia during World War II, at first to perform, and overall to move there to live for the rest of his life. While he is famous for his compositions, there aren’t as many recordings of him playing as you might think due to the timing of his career. As you can imagine, these recordings that do exist are revered and have been made into digital recordings.

Not only was Ignaz Friedman a composer and pianist, but he was also a respected teacher. He taught some famous pianists, and so its his planting of seeds that he is also remembered for. His compositions were influenced by some of his favorite composers, like Chopin and J. S. Bach.

His concert in Vienna in 1904 was a big moment for him. After being a child prodigy and moving up, he had officially debuted his own live music to the world, concert style. There was a certain rhythmic suaveness to his style, and he has established himself within a unique niche, which unfortunately has not found itself as prominent on the current market.

Still, his music is very well-respected. And, it should be mentioned that while his few recordings was attributed to the time at which his career was launched, it is also due to many of his recordings being lost. Although, this isn’t uncommon, again due to the ‘timing’ of his career in regards to technology, which is again goes full circle to the same reason mentioned before. Ultimately, he is remembered as a great composer during an era in which there were many greats.

Victor Borge Biography – The Innovative Comedic Musician

Victor Borge was not only a personality on television but also on the radio before that, as well as a star on two continents, Europe and North America. The Great Dane, as he was called as one of his nicknames, was known for being a comedian and using his music as part of his act. Of course, this was just how things were at his peak, as years before, he was a concert classical pianist.

He used his talents in many ways throughout the years and had a career that spanned decades. His nickname ‘The Great Dane’ comes from him being a Danish-born and raised superstar, having moved to America later in the 1940’s. This is where his career continued to take off.

One signature move he was known for was when he would announce that he’s going to perform a song, but he would keep being distracted. He was a comedian, that’s for sure. He was a performer for life, having learned to play the piano and performed for the first time at only eight years old.

Victor Borges was also well-known for his anti-Nazi jokes during his comedy tour. He had to escape his home country of Denmark during World War II. Another thing Borges was popular for was switching types of music mid-song. It was part of how he used music to parlay his comedy routine and mesh the two together.

Borges was truly innovative, and that is what made his career continue to flourish. Want another example of how Borges was innovative? He used literary techniques mixed with a comedic and repetitive recitation of each punctuation symbol of each sentence, including commas, as part of a story-telling routine that really flew over well with the audience. It was his personality that would have to take charge in a situation like that, a situation Victor Borges made into a career.

Everything You Need To Know About Carly Simon

If you love music you have probably heard one of Carly Simon’s songs at one point or another. This talented singer-songwriter was born on June 25, 1945. Simon does more than just sing, she also is a musician and she even writes children’s books. Read on to learn more about the life of Carly Simon.

Carly Simon first became popular in the 70’s. She sang over 13 top 40 hits, including “You’re So Vain”, “Jesse”, “You Belong To Me”, and “Coming Around Again”. She has been nominated for multiple Grammy awards and has had 24 singles that have charted and she even won two Grammy Awards. She won an Academy Award for the music she wrote for Working Girl.

Simon is a member of the Grammy Hall of Fame and has won lifetime achievement awards from Boston and Berklee College. As far as her personal life is concerned, she was married to fellow singer James Taylor. She has two children with Taylor, Sarah and Benjamin. They too are musicians.

Born in New York City to the co-founder of Simon & Schuster, Carly Simon enjoyed an upper class upbringing that was also arts friendly. Her mother was a singer and she was also a civil rights activist. Her home was full of music, and writers often came to dinner to discuss politics and the arts.

Simon started singing because she had a stutter. She couldn’t talk but the singing stopped her stuttering. She started writing her own songs at a young age.

She went to Sarah Lawrence College, but dropped out to pursue her singing career. Her song “You’re So Vain” made it to Number 1 on the music charts and is still popular today. Rumor has it that she wrote the song about Mick Jagger or Warren Beatty but she would never admit who the song was about.

Mark Knopfler Bio – A Musician Of All Trades

Mark Knopfler can be considered a musician of all trades, having branched his career out as a composer, songwriter and of course a singer/producer. He is known for being part of the band Dire Straits up until the band parted ways. Not only that, he has released many albums on his own, and has put out multiple scores for films.

Mark Knopfler is also known for working with many musicians, and he is a very accomplished guitarist. As a producer, one of the stars he worked with and produced an album for was Tina Turner. The man has continued to have great success throughout his career because of his ability to continuously search out new avenues and network with important people. Of course, his talents also have a great deal to do with his successful career as well.

Born in Scotland, Knopfler was into music at an early age, participating and helping form bands and making a name for himself. All throughout his continued studies, Knopfler always found himself in a band, seeking out what was next. He would make demo albums and continue to get even better at playing the guitar.

He has also been employed by Loughton College as a lecturer, so the man has made his rounds on the way up. Knopfler really achieved wide acclaim in the late 70’s and 80’s, and while his popularity declined somewhat since its peak, he has continued to achieve popular success with a large fan base.

Of course, the 90’s would be when Dire Straits split, and Kopfler took some time off. But, his career has seen a resurgence in different ways, and he’s received numerous awards over the years. One of the best songs that his band Dire Straits released was ‘Sultans of Swing’ if you remember.

Billy Joel – The Artist

Billy Joel is an American singer, songwriter and pianist who grew up in the Bronx and is the sixth best selling recording artist and the third best selling solo artist in the United States.

He has had Top 40 hits in the 70s, 80s and 90s and he has 23 Grammy awards to his credit.

Born in 1949 to Jewish parents who had immigrated to the US to escape Nazi Germany, Joel had early piano training at his mother’s insistence. He did not have enough credits to graduate from high school, as he was playing late nights in a local bar to help his mother with expenses, and missed a critical English exam.

Joel said that since he was not going to be able to go to Columbia University, he would go to Columbia Records, where he did not need a high school diploma.

When Joel saw the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show, he said it changed his life, because here were four guys who looked like nothing special, and they were on the Ed Sullivan show. So this is when he decided to get into music for real.

Thus began a few years of mucking around with several bands, groups and session music for up and coming stars including the Beach Boys and others. He moved to California where he played in a piano bar and composed his hit, “Piano Man.”

Joel began to attract attention, and his songs of “The Stranger,” “Only The Good Die Young.” and “Movin’ Out.”

Joel’s music personified how many Americans felt, as it “told it like it is” as he parodied himself at the piano, and everyone else at their day to day existence, working and playing through their lives.

Joel still performs in concerts and benefits, regaling his hits and honoring his friends and music that is epic of our times.

Barbra Streisand Biography

Barbra Streisand is an award winning American actress, singer, composer, film producer and director. She was born in Brooklyn, New York on April 24th in 1942. Her father, Emanuel was a high school teacher and died when Barbra was just 17 month old. Diana Rosen, her mother raised her and her brother while working as a secretary. The family struggled financially and her mother remarried when Barbra was seven. Her stepfather turned out to be emotionally abusive.

Streisand has talked about her childhood as painful experience. She was shay and felt isolated because of her unusual looks. She attended Erasmus Hall High School while studying acting in New York City.

She moved to Manhattan in 1960 after graduated from high school. She met actor Elliot Gould and married him in 1963. They stayed together for eight years and had a son Jason.

Streisand entered a talent competition at a local night club when she was still taking acting lessons and working in the office. She was successful and that was the beginning of her career as a successful cabaret singer.

She debut in Broadway in 1962 with a show called “I Can Get It For You Wholesale” and won the award by the New York Drama Critics as well as nominated for Tony Award. The album for the show was her first recording and her debut album “The Barbra Streisand Album” was released from Columbia Records in 1963. The album enjoyed top 10 gold record and Streisand won two Grammy Awards.

Even though Streisand enjoyed three album successes in 1964, she opted to perform in Broadway rather than doing live concerts. She was performing in the show called “Funny Girl” and the song from the show “People” became her first top ten single.

Streisand made her movie debut in the film version of “Funny Girl” in 1968 and won Academy Award as well as Golden Glove. Her successful film career continued with movies such as “Hello, Dolly” “On A Clear Day You Can See Forever”.

During 1970s, Streisand effectively managed to combine her two interests, musical and film. The first result was the successful film “The Way We Were” in 1973. She was nominated for Academy Award and the single record became her first number one. “A Star Is Born” in 1976 followed which Streisand produced. It awarded six Golden Globes and the title song “Evergreen” became her second number one hit.

She collaborated with Neil Diamond, her former high school friend, on the song “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers” in late 1970’s. The song hit number one and a dance record which she collaborated with Donna Summer “No More Tears” followed. Her best-selling album “Guilty” was released in 1980 which contained top hit song “Woman In Love”.

In 1983, Streisand made a directorial debut with “Yentil” and awarded Golden Globe as well as nominated for Academy Award. In 1985 her “The Broadway Album” charted to the top. She made her second movie as a director “Prince Of Tides” in 1991.

In 1994, after a long absent, Streisand went back to the concert stage and released the album “The Concert” which sold millions.

Her latest album “Release Me” which contained unreleased material was released in 2012. Over the period of her successful career Streisand sold over 70 million records all over the world.

Politically, Streisand is a passionate supporter of the Democratic Party.

Neil Sedaka’s Rise To Success

Neil Sedaka is an American singer and songwriter who began his career to most observers on the Dick Clark American Bandstand. His early upbringing in Brooklyn sounds like a miracle prodigy story, and it really was. In the second grade, Sedaka’s teacher sent a note home that he should take up piano, so his mother got a part-time department store job for six weeks to get an upright.

In 1947 at the age of eight, he auditioned for a place in the Julliard School of Music’s preparatory division for children and was successfully accepted.

After Sedaka graduated from high school he, and a few of his classmates formed a band called “The Tokens” who eventually had a hit called, “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” however without Sedaka.

Sedaka formed a partnership with a friend, Howard Greenfield and the two wrote many hits for others. Sedaka in the meantime had several attempts at solo records, which initially did not get very far. His first attempts “Ring-a-Rockin'”. “Oh, Delilah!” and “Laura Lee” did not become hits, but “Ring-a-Rockin'” got him an appearance on American Bandstand.

With his appearance on Bandstand he was able to sign with RCA Victor, and his first single, “The Diary” was a Connie Francis inspiration, who was the most important client of Sedaka and Greenfield. The song got to number 15 on the top 100 of Billboard and Neil Sedaka was on his way.

Everyone who grew up in the 60’s remembers Sedaka’s signature song of “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do,” “Oh Carol,” his first top 10 hit, and “Calendar Girl.”

Sedaka’s double voiced songs were a novelty at the time, also used by Les Paul and Mary Ford, but Sedaka worked hard at producing a finished product that was flawless with a great beat, and the teenagers loved it.

Sedaka also wrote for other artists such as Connie Francis and Jimmy Clanton, and many others as well, penning “Stupid Cupid” and “Where The Boys Are” for Francis and “What Am I Gonna Do” for Clanton.

The Helen Reddy Saga

Helen Reddy was born in October of 1941 in Australia and is an Australian singer, actress and an activist. Her songs gained international acclaim and was a spokesperson for feminine equality.

Reddy was born into a family who was already well established in show business, and at the age of 4 years old she was in the Australian Vaudeville circuit with her family. Claiming that she would never be a professional entertainer, she got married as a teenager, which did not work out, even though she had a daughter, Traci, so she went back to performing.

She won a talent contest in Australia, in which the prize was a trip to New York to audition with Mercury Records. She thought it was to cut a record, but the audition failed and she was left in New York with only $200 and Traci.

She remarried Jeff Wald, an erstwhile record producer and sometimes agent. Things went up and down, with Reddy supporting the both of them for awhile, but finally Wald moved them to Los Angeles and in 1971 she recorded a Mac Davis song, “I Believe In Music,” and the flip side of “I Don’t Know How To Love Him” from Jesus Christ Superstar, as DJ’s began to play the B side of the record, and Helen was on her way to stardom.

When her next hit,”I Am Woman” hit the charts, that really solidified her position as not only a talented and determined singer, but as a spokesperson for the up and coming feminist movement. Over the next five years, Reddy had over a dozen hits that made a real impact, and she was in her own realm when writing them.

The total sales figures for ready are tallied at over 10 million single records and 15 million albums for US sales and over 25 million in sales for albums worldwide.