Sara Schoenbeck is a bassoonist who dedicates herself to expanding the sound and role of the bassoon in the worlds of classical, contemporary notated and improvised music. The Wire magazine places her in the “tiny club of bassoon pioneers” at work in contemporary music today and the New York Times has called her performances “galvanizing” and “riveting, mixing textural experiments with a big, confident sound.”
Originally from California, Sara spent her time on the west coast freelancing in various orchestral bassoon sections such as Santa Barbara Symphony, California Symphony, Redlands, Mancini Orchestra, the Dakah Hip Hop Orchestra and touring as a member of creative music ensembles Gravitas Quartet with Wayne Horvitz, Ron Miles and Peggy Lee, Anthony Braxton’s 12+1(tet) and Vinny Golia’s Large Ensemble. Sara also recorded for various sound and film projects including the Matrix 2 and 3, Dahmer and Spanglish.
Sara now calls Brooklyn home and performs regularly with Petr Kotek’s SEM ensemble, the composers group WetInk, Wordless Music Orchestra, Anthony Braxton’s Tri-Centric Orchestra, Gravitas, Harris Eisenstadt’s Golden State Quartet, Eve Risser’s White Desert Orchestra, Nels Cline Lovers Ensemble, Adam Rudoplph’s Go Organic Orchestra and the Michael Leonhart Band as well as performing with many creative and inspiring musicians in the New York scene and beyond including Roscoe Mitchell, the legendary musicians Butch Morris and Yusef Lateef, Wadada Leo Smith, Robin Holcomb, Matt Mitchell, Pamela Z, Taylor Ho Bynum, Joe Morris, Miya Masaoke, Ingrid Laubrock, Marty Ehrlich, Ben Goldberg, Stew and Mark Dresser to name a few. She has performed at major venues and festivals throughout North America and Europe, including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center Out of Doors, the Kitchen, Iridium, Disney Hall, the Kennedy Center, SXSW, New Orleans Jazz Festival, Newport Jazz Festival, Berlin Jazz Festival, Free Music Festival in Antwerp Belgium, Biennale Musica in Venice Italy, Montreal Jazz Festival, Ottawa Jazz Festival, the Vancouver International Jazz Festival, The Angel City Jazz Festival in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Jazz Festival.
Sara received her BFA from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and MFA from the California Institute of the Arts where she has given master classes on improvisation for bassoonists and classically trained musicians. Sara has been adjunct faculty at California Institute of the Arts, Citrus College and Pasadena Conservatory and given master classes at Cornish College, University of Denver and Western Washington University. She is currently on faculty at Brooklyn Conservatory of Music and Packer Collegiate Institute.