About                       

Korean American guitarist/composer Sungmin Shin maintains a vigorous schedule divided between performing and teaching in a wide variety of musical settings. As a musician, Mr. Shin finds a unique balance between his classical training and deep roots in popular guitar styles. This combination drives his curiosity to seek new modes of expression through performance, improvisation, and composition. As a soloist and chamber musician, Sungmin embraces the eclectic demands of the modern musician through performing works in a wide range of styles including classical standards to inventive contemporary music and his own original works. A frequent collaborator with various musicians and ensembles, he is a member of the internationally acclaimed guitar ensemble Tantalus Quartet and the Rochester-based contemporary quintet fivebyfive. 

Mr. Shin has been acknowledged through numerous awards, grants and scholarships, and has been invited to perform and present workshops, masterclasses, and lectures across the U.S. and Canada. Recent engagements include appearances at the June in Buffalo Festival, Prismatic Debussy Festival, Women in Music Festival, Guitar Foundation of America Convention, New Mexico Classical Guitar Festival, UofL Guitar Festival. He has made numerous radio appearances including live broadcast performances on Backstage Pass and Live at Hochstein for WXXI-FM. He has regularly collaborated with the University of Rochester Brass Choir as electric guitar soloist including on their performance tour at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2014. An advocate for performing music of living composers, Mr. Shin has collaborated with notable musicians and ensembles in the new music scene including Emi Ferguson (flute), Alex Greffin-Klein (violin), Yuki Numata Resnick (violin), Ensemble Signal and Slee Sinfonietta. He has worked with leading composers and conductors in new music including Julien LeRoy, Brad Lubman, Alan Pierson, Steve Reich, Frank Ticheli, and Melinda Wagner. Also, he has studied with guitarist-composers Dusan Bogdanovic and Roland Dyens on performing their music. During his graduate studies at Eastman, he frequently worked with Rochester based contemporary music ensembles Musica Nova, Ossia, and Rest Is Noise. Committed to sharing his music with diverse audiences, he regularly engages in outreach performances throughout the community.

Mr. Shin is a devoted educator and shares his passion for music with students of all ages and levels. He is currently on faculty at The University at Buffalo (SUNY) where he teaches classical and electric guitar and directs the UB Guitar Ensemble. Also, he works with private students at the Eastman Community Music School, Music & Arts (Pittsford, NY), and in his home studio (Penfield, NY). He has been invited to teach masterclasses for guitar programs around the US including Arkansas State University, Bloomsburg University, Buffalo State College, Eastman School of Music, SUNY Fredonia, and SUNY Potsdam. He has been a guest artist and adjudicator at various guitar festivals including, Great Lakes Guitar Festival (Buffalo, NY), Guitar Foundation of America, New Mexico Classical Guitar Festival, and UofL Guitar Festival & Competition (Louisville, KY). He has presented clinics and workshops for various organizations including NYSSMA, Rochester Guitar Club, Korean American Guitar Society (Los Angeles, CA), and the Laboratory for Laser Energetics at the University of Rochester. During the summers, he serves on the faculty of Guitar Workshop Plus in Toronto, ONT.

Mr. Shin is currently completing his doctor of musical arts degree at the prestigious Eastman School of Music. He studies with Dr. Nicholas Goluses, one of America's most sought-after guitarists. As a teaching assistant at Eastman, Sungmin has taught private guitar lessons and masterclasses, and coached ensembles for the guitar chamber music class. During this time, he established the Eastman Guitar Quartet, which took first place in the Guitar Foundation of America Ensemble Showcase in 2014. He has assumed the role of primary instructor for Guitar History & Literature, Guitar Pedagogy, and Fretboard Harmony courses at Eastman and has served as a TA under Dr. John Covach (History of Rock and The Beatles, British Invasion, Psychedelia) and Dr. Josef Hanson (High Voltage: Heavy Metal Music and Its History) at the University of Rochester. In conjunction with the doctoral degree, Sungmin is a certificate candidate through the Catherine Filene Shouse Arts Leadership Program. Upon completing his master of music degree at Eastman, he was awarded the highly selective Performer's Certificate for outstanding performance. During this time, he studied baroque performance practice with lutenist and conductor extraordinaire, Paul O'Dette.

Mr. Shin completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Southern California where he was a recipient of the Classical Guitar Department Award. At USC, he studied privately with distinguished artist pedagogues James Smith and Brian Head while receiving additional instruction from flamenco master Adam del Monte and Los Angeles Guitar Quartet members William Kanengiser and Scott Tennant. He was fortunate to study privately with the legendary Maestro Pepe Romero as well as perform numerous times in his masterclass. Sungmin made his professional debut during his time at USC as a featured soloist alongside Professor Smith with the National Children’s Choir (formerly the Paulist Choristers) in Los Angeles.

Sungmin is an alumnus of the Aspen Music Festival and School, where he studied with virtuoso Sharon Isbin on a full scholarship. He is also a four time alumnus of Guitar Workshop Plus (Toronto, ONT) where he studied jazz guitar with scholarships. He has performed to critical acclaim in the masterclasses of world renowned artists including Eliot Fisk, Oscar Ghiglia, Timothy Kain, Dale Kavanah, Alvaro Pierri, David Russell, Raphaella Smits, Benjamin Verdery, Jason Vieaux, and more.

Sungmin began his musical life at the age of 10 as a blues-rock guitarist in LaSalle, ONT, studying with Ron McMinn. He began his classical guitar studies in high school with Mike McNamara in Windsor, ONT receiving high honors in examinations on guitar and music theory through the Royal Conservatory of Music in Canada.

Press Kit

Bio (Long)

Bio (short)

Click here for Press Video

Click here for Press Photos


Quotes about Sungmin

“a gifted musician with enormous promise”
“an intelligent, thoughtful and sensitive guitarist and musician...played with an artistry and depth beyond his years”

-the late Prof. James F. Smith, an extraordinary teacher, performer, arranger, visionary and impresario of the guitar

“The former featured the guitar artistry of Professor James Smith of USC, and his amazing protégé, Sungmin Shin. The two played as one, with an uncanny sense of matching each other.”
-Douglas Neslund, www.classicalvoice.org

“[Sungmin’s]...playing is remarkable indeed for its purity and musical accomplishment.”
-Angelo Gilardino, acclaimed Italian guitarist, composer, teacher, and musicologist

“Gutsy soulful performance”
“Elegant and poetic”

- Dr. Nicholas Goluses, Professor of Guitar, Eastman School of Music

“Very good energy and flair!”
-Paul O’dette, Professor of Lute and Director of Early Music, Eastman School of Music

“Very engaging with a real sense of the line any audience will want to hear... Bravo!”
-Kathleen Bride, Professor of Harp, Eastman School of Music

“Your heart is so present in what you express through your guitar playing.  Your passion is inspiring.”
-Dr. Mary Kleinsorge, singer/songwriter/classical guitarist