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 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' 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 tour performances of her 'Shenandoah' arrangement by the St Ambrose University Chamber Singers in Milan, Venice and Vienna, performances by Cantabile Chamber Choir in Toronto, and a premiere by the Ligeti Quartet at Cheltenham Music Festival. Upcoming activities include commissions for Con Anima Chamber Choir in Aberdeen and Amuse Singers in New York City, as well as a work for virtuosic Seattle-based choir The Esoterics as the national winner of their prestigious annual POLYPHONOS composition competition for 2018. She self-publishes her works personally and through MusicSpoke, and has a Christmas carol entitled 'Brightest and Best' soon forthcoming with GIA Publications.
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. 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.