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IHS55 Featured Artist

Sarah Willis

United Kingdom

“The horn is for boys”, Sarah Willis' schoolteacher told her, and so he suggested that she learn the flute or the oboe. That remark served as a challenge to the US-born Brit, who grew up in Tokyo, Boston, Moscow and London and she had her first horn lesson at the age of 14. After studying for three years on the Performer's Course at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, Sarah continued her training with Fergus McWilliam in Berlin.

@ Sebastian Haenel

From 1991 to 2001 she was a member of the Staatskapelle Berlin and in 2001 became the first female brass player to win a position with the Berlin Philharmonic. Sarah Willis has performed with many other leading orchestras and has appeared as a soloist and a chamber musician all over the world. She has recorded various acclaimed albums, her most recent of which, `Mozart y Mambo´, is a fusion of classical and Cuban rhythms.

Sarah is passionate about music education and makes full use of digital technology and social media to reach audiences worldwide. She teaches at the Berlin Philharmonic Karajan Academy and especially enjoys creating and presenting Berlin Philharmonic Family Concerts. Sarah is a regular broadcaster and interviewer on TV and online and for several years fronted the classical music programme, Sarah´s Music, for Deutsche Welle TV.

Sarah’s contributions to classical music have been recognised at the highest level in the UK when she was made an MBE – Member of the Order of the British Empire – by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in the Queen’s 2021 Birthday Honours List for services to charity and for the promotion of classical music.

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