Committed to Opera

Shem Guibbory, Violin Associate

Shem Guibbory started to play as a substitute in the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra at the age of 21, sitting on the last stand of the 1st violin section for a performance of Strauss’ Die Frau Ohne Schatten with Karl Böhm conducting. Since then, he has been privileged to be a part of hundreds of amazing performances.

Throughout his career, Mr. Guibbory has explored ways in which music combines with other disciplines. This exploration is influenced by opera, no doubt, as well as by his early training at CalArts where the intrinsic unity between all the arts is viewed as a fundamental. With Director Margaret Booker and playwright Robert Schenkkan he has created a new music/theater work A Night at the Alhambra Café (2010) and is currently developing another work entitled Accidental Heroes.

Mr. Guibbory’s personal recording credits include solo and chamber music on ECM, Gramavision, Opus 1, DG, Albany, Bridge, MSR Classics and CRI. He has performed as a soloist with a number of fine orchestras including the New York Philharmonic. For over three decades he has served as a faculty member of the Chamber Music Conference and Composers’ Forum of the East, serving as their Music Director for nine consecutive seasons. Some other credits include a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship to Bellagio and two ASCAP-CMA Adventurous Programming Awards. He is also proud to serve the professional musicians’ community as a Board member of the Recording Musicians’ Association (RMA), NY Chapter. During his career at the Met, some outstanding highlights that carved themselves into his ear include Fidelio with John Vickers and Eva Marton, conducted by Klaus Tennstedt; Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen with James Levine (especially the Deutsche Grammophon recording of Götterdämmerung); La Gioconda, Un Ballo in Maschera and Lohengrin conducted by Giuseppe Patané; Cosí fan Tutte and Der Rosenkavalier with Kiri Te Kanawa, Kathleen Battle and James Levine; Neeme Järvi conducting some of his first performances after leaving Estonia – Boris Godunov, Khovanschina and Eugene Onegin; Puccini and Verdi with the amazing Nello Santi; and close to three decades wherein it seemed that either Pavarotti or Domingo astonished everyone at least once a week! More recent memorable performances include Pélleas et Mélisande with Simon Rattle, Die Walküre with Donald Runnicles, Rodelinda with Harry Bicket, Tristan und Isolde with Daniel Barenboim and Parsifal with Daniele Gatti.