Described as 'full of imaginative sonorities’ (Wales Arts Review) and 'quiet and delicate’ (Rhein-Neckar-Zeitung), the music of multi award-winning composer Sarah Lianne Lewis is in great demand with upcoming performances across the UK and Europe. During recent months her pieces have been warmly received by audiences as far away as Brittany and California and violinist Mark Fewer, pianist Siwan Rhys and the Azusa Pacific University Symphony Orchestra have been among the many leading artists to programme her work.
Originally from Aberystwyth and now based in Penarth, Sarah began her creative journey with Dyfed Young Composers in 2006 before going on to study music at Cardiff University. She continued her professional development on composition courses that included Aldeburgh Music’s English Song Project and IRCAM’s renowned ManiFeste Academy.
Sarah is currently Composer Affiliate with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales — the first woman and youngest person, to hold this position. The Orchestra first programmed her music 11 years ago, beginning with Chiaroscuro in 2012 and last month premiered The sky didn’t fall in Cardiff’s Hoddinott Hall. The BBC NOW in partnership with the newly created French Consortium Créatif (including Orchestre National de Bretagne and Orchestre de Picardie) commissioned Sarah to create her most recent large-scale orchestral work. Written with French author Stéphane Michaka, L'Île des jamais trop tard ('The island of never too late') is a musical adventure for family audiences which was premiered in Rennes in March 2023. It will be played by several of the co-commissioning partners in Spring 2024, including BBC NOW, who will give its first UK performance in July 2024.
Beyond the orchestra, Sarah has worked with a variety of artists, audiences and spaces — from textural works in concert halls, to contemplative chamber ensemble music in a late-night gin bar, to creating expansive storytelling soundscapes through silent disco headphones under the stars. UPROAR, Nevis Ensemble, Heidelberg Festival, Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, and Drake Music Scotland are among the many organisations to have commissioned her.
Sarah’s latest work In the shadow of giants, which is inspired by the local mythology of her native Ceredigion, will be premiered by Aberystwyth Philomusica on Saturday 9 December. ▶ info & tickets
▶ The sky didn't fall Radio 3 broadcast of BBC NOW premiere available on BBC Sounds until 2 December.
▶ Tourmaline Originally commissioned & premiered by BBC NOW in Sept 2022, ’Tourmaline’ received its US premiere in November 2023 by the Azusa Pacific University Symphony Orchestra, conductor: Christopher Russell.
▶ the blue and the dim and the dark (2019) Written for the Lucerne Festival 2019 through the Composers’ Seminar and premiered by JACK Quartet and Mivos Quartet.
▶ Together Apart and Apart we are not alone (2020) ‘Together Apart’ commissioned by BBC Radio 3’s Postcards from Composers (during the initial 2020 lockdown), and ‘Apart we are not alone’ written for Fenella Humphreys.
▶ I dared say it to the sky (2016) Commissioned by Heidelberg Music Festival in 2016, premiered by Sarah Maria Sun & Johannes Fischer.
▶ Kyrie Eleison (2012) Written during the St Magnus Composers’ Course 2012 and recorded by Cardiff University Contemporary Music Group for Ty Cerdd Records.
▶ Weathering (2020) Written for and recorded by BBC NOW’s Laura Sinnerton for Birmingham Record Company.