"Working with Sarah in designing and facilitating the Poetry and Bach workshop for the 2023 Paisley Book Festival was incredible. Sarah's use of violin music as a writing prompt quite literally changed the vibration of the space and activated the creativity of the workshop participants who spun their words into gold. Pure alchemy!"
Donna Matthew, Founder of Poets in Paisley
"Sarah as well as being a teacher is also a performing musician of great merit, I attended a performance of Bach Partita's by Sarah held in a Victorian church in Glasgow and was bowled over by her interpretation of the Partitas, the best I have ever heard!"
Anthony Lorimer, audience member
Sarah Wagner’s interest in bringing theatricality to classical music has led her to perform in an exciting array of locations ranging from the Palace of Auburn Hills alongside Eminem in Detroit, to the throne room of Buckingham Palace for the King of England..
As a soloist, Sarah worked closely with the Glasgow-based organization After the Pandemic to create a wholly original performance piece known as Under the Bridge. This project combined her performance of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons with street art beneath the Kingston Bridge and was created in collaboration with design collective Lateral North and street art initiative Colour Ways Glasgow. The filmed performance of “Summer” was featured in the Scotsman, the Sunday Post, and on BBC Radio Scotland. Under the Bridge culminated in a live performance of The Four Seasons to a sold out audience at Glasgow Cathedral during the United Nations COP26 conference in Glasgow.
Sarah works primarily in the theatre, having performed across the United States and Europe in over 60 productions ranging from classical opera to contemporary musical theatre. While a postgraduate student at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Sarah was awarded the John McInulty Prize as recognition for this growing body of work. Her RCS productions include concertmaster for Rape of Lucretia, Dido and Aeneas, Les Mamelles de Tirésias, and Gianni Schicchi and as principal second violin for the UK staged premiere of Dead Man Walking. Sarah was later invited back in 2022 as Guest Concertmaster to lead the orchestra in a debut chamber orchestration of Jonathan Dove's Flight.
Sarah’s international performances include principal second violin with the 2022 Opera de Baugé festival in France performing The Merry Widow, La Traviata, and Faust; principal second with the 2019 Berlin Opera Academy in Germany, performing Le Nozze di Figaro and Die Zauberflöte; and featured violinist with the Melofonetica 2019 Arte Lirica Festival in Italy. Prior to moving to Scotland, Sarah regularly performed with The Encore Musical Theatre Company in Dexter, Michigan including as part of the Wilde Award nominated West Side Story and the developmental premiere of new musical Into the Wild. Sarah credits her love of theatrical work to three summers spent with the College Light Opera Company in Falmouth, Massachusetts with whom she performed 27 fully staged productions.
Sarah’s work as a recitalist focuses on the narrative aspects of instrumental music and using classical music to tell contemporary stories. Sarah is particularly interested in the relationship between music and text and frequently incorporates original and commissioned poetry into her programs. She has written poems to accompany her performances of Beethoven’s Sonata No. 10, Brahms’ Sonata No. 1, and Bach’s Sonata No. 2 in A minor, Partita No. 2 in D minor, and Partita No. 3 in E Major. In addition, Sarah commissioned original spoken word pieces from Glasgow area poets for her performance of Franck's Sonata in A Major. By juxtaposing new texts against standard works, Sarah hopes to create a dialogue between the performer and audience and inspire a more personal approach to classical music.
Sarah received her Master’s of Music and Advanced Postgraduate Diploma from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland while studying with Andrea Gajic and her Bachelor’s of Music in violin performance and educational studies under the tutelage of Wen Lei-Gu from Lawrence University. She is also the recipient of a Global Talent Visa through Arts Council England.