B i o g r a p h y
Sara Erb is an international bassoonist who is passionate about chamber music, pit orchestras, and collaborating with composers to create new music. She received her Bachelor of Music degree from Butler University (Indianapolis, Indiana) and her Master of Music degree from the Royal Northern College of Music (Manchester, England). She is an ABD (all but dissertation) candidate for the Doctor of Music degree at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music, where she also teaches undergraduate reed classes, coaches chamber groups, and performs with a wide variety of ensembles.
Sara has had the privilege of studying with prominent bassoonists and pedagogues such as Doug Spaniol, Gretha Tuls, David Chatwin, Stefano Canuti, Peter Whelan, and William Ludwig. She has played in masterclasses for bassoonists such as Bram van Sambeek, Ole Kristian T. Dahl, Matthew Wilkie, John Clouser, Billy Short, and the bassoonists of the Berlin Philharmonic. She has also collaborated on projects and in concert with the Netherlands Wind Ensemble, the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, the BBC Philharmonic, and the Academy of Ancient Music at Cambridge. Recent orchestral engagements include the Carmel Symphony Orchestra, the Evansville Philharmonic, and the International Chamber Orchestra of Puerto Rico.
As a solo artist, Sara has been a part of numerous professional recordings, including for the Kaleidoscope Orchestra (Manchester), the RNCM Wind Orchestra, the Jacobs School of Music, and, most notably, the premiere Naxos recording of Alfred Cellier’s opera Dorothy with maestro Richard Bonynge and the Piccadilly Symphony Orchestra. She holds a deep love for new music and has worked with composers like Thea Musgrave, Anthony Gilbert, Michael Schelle, P.Q. Phan, and Hollywood composer Christopher Young. Sara was a featured soloist in RNCM’s 2018 New Music Festival, in which she performed Anthony Gilbert’s “Dark Singing, Dancing Light” for solo bassoon and strings. She was the bassoon finalist in the woodwind concerto competition at Jacobs School of Music in the spring of 2020.
Sara is also an accomplished chamber musician. She has performed in quintets that have won the Tunnell Trust of Scotland (2018 and 2019), have been guest performers at St. Martin-in-the-Fields in London, and were resident artists at the Cantiere Internazionale D'Arte in Montepulciano, Italy, in 2018. She currently plays in a wind quintet with other doctoral students at Indiana, continues to play in small ensembles for composers and student recitals, and is in high demand as a coach for undergraduate groups.
Sara's doctoral dissertation will be a discussion on Dai Fujikura's extended techniques in his solo bassoon compositions Calling, Following, and Secret Leaves. More information on that project will be posted as it is developed.
Sara is a member of the international music fraternity Sigma Alpha Iota. She was initiated into the Zeta chapter in 2013 and served as the chapter's Vice President of Ritual in 2014-2015 and President in 2015-2016. She is currently active in the Bloomington (IN) Alumnae chapter in which she has served as Treasurer and as the officer for Fraternity Education.
When she’s not fussing over reeds, Sara loves traveling to Europe, reading Kurt Vonnegut, cooking, scuba diving, and going wine tasting.