Sarah Rimkus is an American composer currently studying as a PhD candidate at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland.
Her music is characterized by sharp attention to harmonic and textural detail, and is largely inspired by sense of place and sensitivity to poetic text.
In 2014, she moved to Aberdeen, Scotland to pursue a Master of Vocal Music degree at the University of Aberdeen from September 2014 to September 2015, studying composition with renowned Royal Wedding composer Paul Mealor. Upon completion of her MMus with distinction in September 2015 she began her PhD in sacred choral music composition with Dr Phillip Cooke and Professor Mealor as a recipient of the Elphinstone Scholarship. She graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor's degree in music composition from the University of Southern California in May 2013, studying with Stephen Hartke and Morten Lauridsen, where she developed a passion for choral music.
She has received numerous awards, including the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award for "Trapped in Amber" for string orchestra, the ASCAP Foundation Leonard Bernstein Award, and the Cantus Ensemble's composition award in 2017. Since her move to the United Kingdom she has received professional success in both Scotland and England - her piece "Flowers of the Forest" was commissioned by the Royal Collections Trust and performed at The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace by the German Choir of London in October 2016, and her arrangement of 'Charlie is my Darling' has also been performed at Buckingham Palace for TRH Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall. Her work has been featured on Classic FM and BBC Scotland, and on recordings by Kantos Chamber Choir, the University of Aberdeen Chamber Choir, and the Cambridge Chorale. The University of Aberdeen Chamber Choir's album 'The Immortal Memory' debuted at no. 3 on the classical charts in 2017. She self-publishes her music personally and through MusicSpoke, and her Christmas carol ‘Brightest and Best’ is available from GIA Publications. Her ‘Charlie is my Darling’ will soon be available from Walton.
Sarah has worked with ensembles and groups on both sides of the Atlantic, including commissions for the Cambridge Chorale, Con Anima Chamber Choir, and a madrigal for the Gesualdo Six on a text by Rossetti which they have performed in numerous concerts throughout the UK and Europe. Her creative choral arrangements are also gaining recognition and wider performance: her spectral-inspired arrangement of 'Oh Shenandoah' has been performed by Cantabile Chamber Singers in Toronto and St Ambrose University Chamber Choir, and 'Charlie is my Darling' has been performed across the United States in addition to performances in the United Kingdom.
Recent projects include commissions for the Ligeti Quartet through Cheltehnam Music Festival, and a new work for The Esoterics as the national winner of their annual POLYPHONOS competition. She has recently been focusing on instrumental music, including commissions from the Sound Festival to write a work for Red Note Ensemble, as well as organist Dr Roger Williams MBE and London-based soprano and visual artist Jillian Bain Christie. Upcoming events include performances by Harmonium Choral Society in New Jersey, the Choir of the Oratory Church of St Chad in Manchester, and the University of Aberdeen Chapel Choir.
She has always played an active role in her communities, as an administrator and organizer both inside and outside the world of music. She recently served as artistic director for Spectrum New Music Ensemble, the only ensemble of its kind based in the Northeast of Scotland, and general manager of the University of Aberdeen Chamber Choir, an ensemble which has performed for Her Majesty the Queen and been broadcast on BBC's Songs of Praise and Classic FM. In the philanthropic arena, she served as both president of Remedy Through Music, an organization that produces musical performances at hospitals and other health sites across Los Angeles, and as performances recruiter and coordinator for Trojan Dance Marathon, a twelve-hour event at USC that annually attracts over 1,000 participants and raises over $60,000 for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. As a lecturer, she has been teaching second year composition at the University of Aberdeen since January 2016, in addition to giving presentations at the music department's composers forum and research seminar series.
She has been a choral scholar in the Chapel Choir of King's College, Aberdeen and St Machar's Cathedral Choir, and sings in the University of Aberdeen Chamber Choir, directed by Paul Mealor. She sang in various ensembles in the Los Angeles area during her time there, including in the Los Robles Master Chorale and their chamber ensemble "êko" under the baton of Dr. Lesley Leighton.
She was born in Washington, D.C. in 1990 and moved to Bainbridge Island, Washington in 1998, where she grew up inspired by the beautiful American West Coast.