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Sarah Bassingthwaighte

Listen to "Eleven Portraits" here
from the CD: Chamber Works
on the Pandora label

My vision as both a composer and a performer is to encourage activity and energy in the service of contemporary music in Seattle, in order to give myself and other musicians as many opportunities and as much motivation to pursue our art as possible. There are a large number of people in our community who are devoted to composing new music, and also a number that are committed to performing new music. With some organization and leadership, we can bring all of these people together into a strong community that can serve to inspire and help each other in our pursuits, instead of each of us working in isolation. I have an image of these kinds of communities existing in other times and places, and of these communities having a large impact on their community as well as on their art form, and I would love to see Seattle and the Pacific Northwest enjoy this level of vitality. This would help each artist individually in his/her work, and it will also contribute to a lively, exciting, and interesting environment that can inspire artists of all kinds. Seattle has the resources, the people, the talent, and the venues to make this happen.


Sarah Bassingthwaighte is an award-winning flutist and composer, receiving accolades in both of these roles in Europe, Russia, and the United States. Her solo and chamber music performances have been especially lauded for their convincing and polished interpretations of contemporary music, including many premieres. She performed Jacques Ibert's Concerto with the Seattle Symphony at the age of 18, which was the beginning of performances with many magnificent musicians. Her CDS of solo 20th Century flute music include Stalks in the Breeze and Flute Meets Machine. Her solo recordings of music for flute and electronics have also appeared on the Centaur and CCMC labels. She has received wonderful reviews, including the British journal Pan Magazine which acclaims her "hypnotic and rich sound" and goes on to say "The tone quality is full of depth and power. Bassingthwaighte seems to have a particular talent for communicating the message of contemporary pieces," which are "performed with polish and virtuosity."

Dr. Bassingthwaighte served on the University of Washington faculty 2006-07, and also is adjunct professor of flute and chamber music at Seattle University. Bassingthwaighte holds teaching very dear to her heart, coaching frequently, including for the Seattle Youth Symphony organization, and appearing regularly as an adjudicator of both flute and composition in the Northwest. In summer 2001, she served on the faculty of the Rachmaninov Institute in Tambov, Russia, performing and teaching master classes for their Summer Festival. Sarah is a past president of the Seattle Flute Society and served on the programming committee for the National Flute Association in 2001. She was a featured speaker and performer at the 2001 National Flute Convention in Dallas as well as for the 2007 NFA Convention in Albuquerque, and has performed as a soloist at the College Music Society Regional and National Conferences. She currently also serves on the executive board of the Gallery Concert Series, a series of Baroque and classical music on historical instruments.

She has worked closely with a number of composers, including Seattle composers Richard Karpen, Bret Battey and Diane Thome, especially in the field of electroacoustic music. She actively commissions new pieces for solo flute or chamber ensembles, and has been responsible for the commission, performance, and recording of more than 25 new pieces.  She is a founding member of the contemporary chamber group, Affinity; a group that has premiered dozens of new pieces since their inception in 1997.

Bassingthwaighte maintains an interactive Web site of works for flute and electronics, and a personal Web site of her flute and composing activities. She has a DMA in flute performance and an MM in composition and theory from the University of Washington, an MA in theory and pedagogy from Central Washington University, and a BM Honors in performance from Indiana University, Bloomington.  She studied widely; her teachers include Carol Wincenc, Julius Baker, Peter Lloyd, James Pellerite, Felix Skowronek, Bonnie Blanchard and Hal Ott.

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