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.
She received the Carlaw-Ogston Postgraduate Scholarship 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, the first of her degree program to earn that designation, she began her PhD in sacred choral music composition with Dr Phillip Cooke and Professor Mealor as a recipient of the Elphinstone Fellowship. 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.
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 Director's Choice Award from the Boston Metro Opera for her song cycle "The Lost Garden" on texts by Dana Gioia. 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' was premiered in the presence of TRH The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall in January 2017 in Ballater, Royal Deeside. Her works have been performed and commissioned by musicians and ensembles on both sides of the Atlantic including the Gesualdo Six and Red Note Ensemble, and featured on Classic FM and BBC Scotland. Recent performances include the premiere of her new anthem 'Lead me, Lord' by the Choir of Kings College, Aberdeen under the direction of James O'Donnell, and performances of her 'Shenandoah' arrangement by the St Ambrose University chamber singers in Milan, Venice and Vienna. Upcoming activities include commissions for Con Anima Chamber Choir and Amuse Singers, a premiere by the Ligeti Quartet at the Cheltenham Music Festival, and the premiere of her St Andrew's Mass for double choir at St Andrew's Cathedral in Aberdeen on 24 June.
She has always played an active role in her communities, as an administrator and organizer both inside and outside the world of music. Currently, she is artistic director of "Spectrum" New Music Ensemble, which recently performed chamber works of Morten Lauridsen with the composer in attendance, alongside a world premiere by the most recent Carlaw | Ogston Award winner Bryce Hope, to a sold-out audience. Additionally, she is 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. The Chamber Choir recently released their album "The Immortal Memory - a Burns Night Celebration", including Sarah's arrangement of 'Charlie is my Darling', which debuted at number 3 in the U.K. classical charts. 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 is a choral scholar in the Chapel Choir of King's College, Aberdeen and sings in the University of Aberdeen Chamber Choir, directed by Paul Mealor. Both ensembles record and tour on a regular basis, nationally and internationally. 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.