Sarah Sew

Head of Strings & Chamber Music

Sarah Sew was appointed Professor of Violin, Head of Strings and Chamber Music at the Royal Irish Academy of Music in August 2018. She teaches violin, chamber music and takes classes in audition training and orchestral excerpts. Sarah’s teaching style focusses on building independent learning, giving students the tools for thoughtful and efficient practice in order to achieve their performance aims. With her students, she develops concepts of artistic choice alongside a detailed exploration of technique.

Sarah appears worldwide as a guest concertmaster, director and soloist. She is recipient of the Maisie Lewis Young Artists’ Fund Award which supported her recital debut at Wigmore Hall, the Emanuel Hurwitz Award, J & A Beare Prize and Pavlovíc Award. As a recitalist and chamber musician, Sarah has performed at Zermatt Festival, Switzerland; Bolzano Festival, Italy; Grafenegg Festival, Austria; Cheltenham Festival, UK; Kanagawa Kenmin Hall, Japan and the International Musicians Seminar, Prussia Cove. Recent concert highlights include appearances as leader, director and soloist in Argentina, Brazil, China, Ireland, Japan, Spain, Uruguay and the UK, including two tours as director/soloist with the European Union Youth Orchestra.

Sarah has appeared as Guest Leader of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, English Symphony Orchestra, Balkan Chamber Orchestra, Camerata Ireland, Nevill Holt Opera Orchestra and the Human Rights Orchestra in Lucerne. She has performed, toured and recorded extensively with orchestras including the London Symphony Orchestra, London Chamber Orchestra and London Sinfonietta. Her work as a session music includes recording numerous major film, television and video games scores at Abbey Road, Air and Angel Studios in London. Previous positions include Concertmaster of the European Union Youth Orchestra from 2010–2012 and Principal First Violin of the RTÉ Concert Orchestra from 2013–2015.

Sarah studied with Maurice Hasson and Howard Davis at the Royal Academy of Music in London, and Friedemann Eichhorn at the Hochschule für Musik Franz Liszt Weimar. She was elected as an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music in 2018. Additionally, Sarah is Artistic Director of Beckett Chamber Music Series, which explores the connection between words and music, inspired by Samuel Beckett’s reduction of artistic expression. Through her inter-disciplinary work, she has collaborated closely with actors, writers, directors and theorists.

As a sectional tutor Sarah has worked with violin sections of the European Union Youth Orchestra, National Youth Orchestra of Ireland and youth orchestras in Greece, China and the UK. She additionally works as a adjudactor, examiner and jury member at both junior and degree level for live competitions, exams and recorded competitions.

Sarah plays a Gennaro Gagliano violin c.1760.

Selected Recordings:

BBC Symphony Orchestra, Payare/BBC Ten Pieces 3 Films [Leader] (BBC)
English Symphony Orchestra, Joubert Jane Eyre [Leader] (Somm Records)
European Union Youth Orchestra, Noseda/Causton Twenty-Seven Heavens [Leader] (NMC)

Scottish Ensemble, Balsom/MacMillan Seraph (EMI Classics)

Stephen Hough String Sextet [Leader] for the National Gallery, London The Sacred Made Real (Exhibition DVD)
BBC Symphony Orchestra, Gardner/Elgar 2 [Co-Leader] (Chandos)
London Symphony Orchestra, Gergiev/Tchaikovsky 3 (LSO Live)
Philharmonia Orchestra, Zander/Mahler 2 (Linn Records)
London Chamber Orchestra, Lang Lang/Hess (Universal)
Aurora Orchestra, Collon/Finzi (Decca)

Film, television, video games, classical and commercial sessions for COOL Music Ltd, Hilary Skewes, LSO at Abbey Road, Air & Angel Studios including Murder on the Orient Express, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Downton Abbey TV series, Halo video games series.