Sarah Beth Briggs
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 and a recipient of a Dame Myra Hess Award. 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 celebrated artist at societies and festivals throughout the UK, acclaimed by promoters and critics for her performances 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. Her first concerto disc on the AVIE label (a Gramophone Critics’ Choice in 2016) features the world premiere of Hans Gál’s Piano Concerto coupled with Mozart Concerto K482 with the Royal Northern Sinfonia conducted by Kenneth Woods. January 2019 sees AVIE releasing a disc of Sarah playing Schumann and late Brahms.
Sarah enjoys balancing a successful solo career with numerous chamber music engagements and has worked with many acclaimed soloists. Her first chamber music CD was released in April 2018 on Toccata Classics, featuring Gál’s Piano Quartet and Violin and Piano Sonatinas with Hungarian violinist, Katalin Kertész and her ensemble.
Sarah was a founder member of Trio Melzi (2000 – 2016) and in addition to her longstanding duo partnership with clarinettist Janet Hilton, they are joined by Robin Ireland in the Anton Stadler Trio and Laurence Perkins in Clarion3. A recent venture is a piano duet partnership with James Lisney, while 2018 has seen the formation of The Briggs Piano Trio (with violinist David Juritz and ‘cellist Kenneth Woods.) Their first recording – of Gál and Shostakovich Trios on the AVIE label – was released in August 2018.
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.