I compose music for dance, music-theatre, installation, and concert. My music is introspective, and is concerned with: memory and the failure of memory; embodiment and transcendence; somatics and matters of the heart. Working in both acoustic and electronic music, with traditional notation, open scores, and improvisation.
Sarah Westwood's (UK) work has been received in eleven European countries, across four continents, commissioned and awarded. Performances include by Moscow Contemporary Music Ensemble, Hong Kong New Music Ensemble, Ensemble L'imaginaire Strasbourg, Prism Piano Trio Boston, and soloists Dan Thorpe, Aleksandra Demowska-Madejska, Jelena Makarova, and Karin Hellqvist, amongst others.
She collaborates extensively with poet Georgie Lorimer, and dancers Eleven Farrer House (EFH). With Lorimer, collaborations include ‘The Artist’s Kintsukuroi’ music-theatre work commissioned by Après l’Histoire, performed at Constellations Chicago; ‘Into the Blank Expanse of Space’ for Carla Rees and Xenia Pestova, performed at Cheltenham Festival, published by Tetractys Publishing; and ’speaking within | fragmented lines’ for The Interstring Project, commissioned by Crossroads Festival Salzburg. ‘Things You Don’t Yet Know You Feel’ is also in collaboration with Georgie Lorimer. This work was written for soprano Patricia Auchterlonie and Illuminate String Quartet, with a residency at Snape Maltings and a tour across the UK. With EFH, their most recent dance project ‘copc’ was performed at Siobhan Davies Dance Studio London, and Dance Limerick Ireland. Previously, she was selected as a composer for Phoenix Dance Theatre’s inaugural Choreographers and Composers Lab Leeds, and a musician in ManiFeste’s In Vivio Danse Paris.
Electronic works have been presented and installed at 'Being Human' Festival at Horniman Mueseum and Gardens London; 'OUA' Festival at Osaka University Japan; and 'PureGold' Festival at Southbank Centre London.
Notable attainments include being awarded the Bliss Trust Scholarship for artistic development to USA; selected for a Creative Retreat at The RedHouse Aldeburgh (supported by Britten-Pears Foundation); selected composer for ISCM World Music Days New Zealand 2020; and winner of the 21st Left Coast Chamber Ensemble Competition.
Alongside composing, Sarah is Director of Programmes at Estalagem da Ponta do Sol’s Contemporary Music and Electronic Residency Madeira, bringing expert practitioners and practising sound artists, composers and performers from varied backgrounds together. She is also a Co-Director for Illuminate Women’s Music. The project aims to promote the work of women composers and performers, performing across UK. Illuminate has received funding from Arts Council England, Ambache Charitable Trust, ISM, and RVW Trust.
Sarah is studying for a PhD in composition at Goldsmiths, University of London, where she is also a research assistant in ‘Embodied Approaches to Performing Experimental Music’.
She initially trained in piano at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and subsequently studied composition, performance and poetry at Bangor University of Wales. Since then, she has been a visiting composition scholar to University of California San Diego; attended Eastman School of Music's 'Theory and Analysis of Contemporary Music' graduate course; and Oxford University's 'Sonic Art and Environmental Sound' course. She has been mentored by Patricia Alessandrini, Kenneth Hesketh, and Lauren Redhead, with further mentorship from Chaya Czernowin, Toshio Hosokawa, Justė Janulytė, Andrew Lewis, Anton Lukoszevieze, and Katharina Rosenberger.
Flowers, by Sarah Westwood
Sarah Westwood portrait. Photo: James Harvey
The Interstring Project plays speaking within \ fragmented lines at Crossroads Festival, Salzburg
Photo: Fabian Schober. 8 Nov 2019
Hong Kong New Music Ensemble play The Hands We Used To Make Were Clay at EchoFluxx Fetival, Prague. 6 April 2016