Newcastle born pianist Sarah Beth Briggs –‘an artist of extraordinary magnetism’ (Michael Kennedy, Daily Telegraph) is a leading recitalist, concerto soloist, and chamber musician. A long-standing pupil of the late Denis Matthews, she gained a Hindemith Scholarship to study chamber music in Switzerland with celebrated violist, Bruno Giuranna, and remained in Lausanne for further studies with renowned Arrau pupil, Chilean pianist Edith Fischer.
Her professional career was launched at the age of eleven when she became the then youngest-ever finalist in the BBC Young Musician of the Year. Four years later she gained international recognition as joint winner of the International Mozart Competition in Salzburg.
Sarah’s classical concerto interpretations have led to appearances in many countries, including prestigious engagements with the Vienna Chamber Orchestra and a series of concerts at San Francisco’s Midsummer Mozart Festival. UK orchestral collaborations include concerts with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Hallé, London Mozart Players, London Philharmonic Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Ulster Orchestra, Manchester Camerata, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, BBC Concert Orchestra and Royal Northern Sinfonia. She has been the featured soloist at major British venues including Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall, London’s South Bank Centre, and the Barbican Centre.
Sarah is a popular artist at societies and festivals throughout the UK, celebrated for her performances, acclaimed by promoters and critics, and for her engaging and informative introductions to recital programmes. Her musical interpretations have been broadcast internationally on radio and television, while recital work has taken her to Germany, Switzerland, France, Italy and the USA.
She gave the world premiere (at the Chester Festival) of Britten’s Three Character Pieces, which feature on one of her warmly-reviewed releases for Semaphore. Her discography to date also includes music by Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Schubert, Chopin, Debussy, Bartók and Rawsthorne. Excerpts from her Debussy and Chopin disc were featured on Classic FM on forty occasions during 2015. Her latest release, a Gramophone Critics’ Choice for 2016 and one of Europadisc’s Top Ten CDs for 2016, is her first recording on the AVIE label – a world premiere recording of Hans Gál’s Piano Concerto with the Royal Northern Sinfonia and Kenneth Woods, coupled with Mozart’s E flat Piano Concerto, K482.
Sarah enjoys balancing a successful solo career with numerous chamber music engagements and has worked with many acclaimed soloists. In addition to her long-standing duo partnership with clarinettist Janet Hilton, in 2007 she and Janet were joined by Robin Ireland (violist of the Lindsay Quartet for twenty years) to form the Anton Stadler Trio. Other collaborations include a clarinet, bassoon and piano trio (Clarion3) again with Janet and with Laurence Perkins, bassoon and Trio Melzi (with former Manchester Camerata leader, Richard Howarth and ‘cellist, Hannah Roberts.) Her most recent venture is a piano duet partnership with James Lisney. As a chamber musician, Sarah has featured on BBC2 and Radio 3.
Sarah taught keyboard for many years at the University of York. She gives regular masterclasses and chamber music tuition in the UK and has also taught in Switzerland and the USA. Away from the concert platform, she loves the theatre, good food and wine and walking in the countryside with her cocker spaniel.