photo by Peter Ganushkin

Sara Schoenbeck

The Wire magazine places Sara Schoenbeck in the “tiny club of bassoon pioneers” at work in contemporary music today and the New York Times has called her performances “galvanizing” and “riveting, mixing textural experiments with a big, confident sound.”

While focusing on the intersection between extended technique and melody Sara works to expand the notion of what the bassoon is capable of in both notated and improvised music. She is a member of Anthony Braxton’s 12+1(tet) and the Tri-Centric Orchestra, Gravitas Quartet with Wayne Horvitz, Ron Miles and Peggy Lee and Harris Eisenstadt’s Golden State Quartet. She performs and tours regularly with the Schoenbeck/Horvitz Duo; Wavefield Ensemble Petr Kotek’s SEM ensemble, the composers group WetInk, Marty Ehrlich’s Duende Winds with Nicole Mitchell and Tomeka Reid; Nels Cline Lovers Ensemble, Adam Rudolph’s Go Organic Orchestra and the Michael Leonhart Orchestra. In years past Sara performed with Butch Morris; Eve Risser’s White Desert Orchestra, Dakah Hip Hop Orchestra; Vinny Golia’s Large Ensemble and the Santa Barbara Symphony. Sara can be heard on music and film recordings including Matrix 2 and 3, Spanglish and Dahmer. She is looking forward to releasing her debut album as a leader in a series of intimate written and improvised duets in the Fall of 2021 on Pyroclastic Records.

Sara has forged musical relationships with many creative and inspiring musicians in the New York scene and beyond including Roscoe Mitchell, Henry Threadgill, Butch Morris and Yusef Lateef, Wadada Leo Smith, Robin Holcomb, Matt Mittchell, Pamela Z, Taylor Ho Bynum, Joe Morris, Dana Lynn, Mike McGinnis and Mark Dresser to name a few.
She has performed at major venues throughout North America and Europe. A partial list includes the Free Music Festival in Antwerp Belgium, Biennale Musica in Venice Italy, the American Festival of Microtonal Music, Los Angeles’s MicroFest, SXSW, New Orleans Jazz Festival, Newport Jazz Festival, Berlin Jazz Festival, Ear Shot Jazz Festival in Seattle, Victoriaville, Something Else Festival in Hamilton ON, Edgefest in Ann Arbor, Ottawa Jazz Festival, the Vancouver International Jazz Festival, Angel City Jazz Festival in Los Angeles; San Francisco Jazz Festival, Saalfelden, Tempere Jazz Festival in Finland, the NY Winter Jazz Festival, BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn, the NY VisionFest, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center Out of Doors, the Kitchen, Iridium, Disney Hall, Redcat, and the Kennedy Center.

Sara received her BFA from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music studying with Stephen Paulson and Rufus Olivier and MFA from the California Institute of the Arts where she studied with Julie Feves. She has been adjunct faculty at California Institute of the Arts, Citrus College and Pasadena Conservatory and given master classes at Amherst College, Hampshire College, Cornish College, University of Denver, Western Washington University and Sacramento State University.

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