Berlin, May 2018 – The Be Phil Orchestra, Sir Simon Rattle, Stanley Dodds

“An experience of a lifetime” – this is how all of the musicians from the Be Phil Orchestra described this event when I interviewed them. And it truly was – for the musicians and for the audience! 101 musicians – all music lovers, not professionals, won an audition to take part in this very special orchestra. They travelled to Berlin and spent three days rehearsing, first with Stanley Dodds and then with Sir Simon Rattle. They came from all over the world – from Australia to Iceland to India to Trinidad and Tobago and it was wonderful to see how much they loved being part of this project and to watch them forging friendships for life.

I am very happy we could document this experience of a lifetime for Sarah´s Music, thanks to the team at the Digital Concert Hall for making it possible for us to co-film in the Philharmonie. It was also wonderful to be able to interview Sir Simon about it – I will miss him and all the magic he makes very much when he leaves the Berlin Philharmonic at the end of this season.

And, dear Be Phil musicians- it was great meeting to you and congratulations on a truly stunning Brahms 1. I know most of you had tears in your eyes at the end of it , I did too – your music-making really touched my heart!

Episode Extras photos courtesy of Monika Rittershaus

Alicante, Spain, April 2018 – Rudi Korp, Nury Guarnaschelli, musicians of the Brass Academy Alicante

I have been a visiting professor at the Brass Academy Alicante for several years now and have always loved my time there. I am so impressed with what the founders Nury Guarnaschelli and Rudi Korp have set up: high class brass teaching and playing in a wonderfully welcoming and very Spanish environment. I felt the whole world deserves to know about what they do so my recent trip there to teach turned into a Sarah´s Music programme.

My team and I loved our weekend there. It wasn’t easy juggling the teaching with the filming but we all managed to have a great time together. Gracias, dear Nury and Rudi, for all you do for our brass world and gracias to all the Brass Academy students for being so wonderful and patient with the cameras all weekend. Bravo for the great playing and thanks for the yummy paella. OLE!!

Boulez Saal, Berlin March 2018 – Guy Braunstein, Avi Avital, Dominic Oelze

I love Bach‘s Chaconne for solo violin. Who doesn‘t? It‘s one of the most recognisable pieces in the world and has inspired musicians and composers to arrange it for many different instruments and combinations of instruments.

So this project, “A Different Chaconne“ at the Boulez Saal in Berlin, jumped out at me when I was looking for ideas for Sarah‘s Music. Most of the musicians taking part were friends and colleagues of mine, so it was the perfect project. Thanks especially to Guy Braunstein for the original Chaconne and Sarah’s Music veteran Aci Avital for the most intimate Chaconne of the evening and for showing me how the Chaconne can sound on the horn…

We loved filming at the Boulez Saal last year when it opened and the filming this year coincided with it‘s first birthday. Happy Birthday Boulez Saal, Berlin is lucky to have you!

Berlin, January 2018  Berlin Philharmonic Winds

It´s always a treat to be able to film with my colleagues from my orchestra. They are for me simply the best musicians in the world and this ensemble is very close to my heart. We have been playing chamber music since I joined the orchestra and as you can see from this episode, we love playing together!

The Berlin Philharmonic Winds make up an ensemble of eight winds and double bass. (Why is a double bass even allowed to play with us? Find out on this episode!) If you have never encountered Harmoniemusik before, then this episode is especially for you – it is such a wonderful form of classical music and  is guaranteed to lift your spirits. Don´t miss the extra video of our encore: Musetta´s aria from La Bohème…Enjoy!

Cover photo: Peter Adamik

Sapporo, Geilo, Holstebro, Lucerne

I love music festivals and have been so happy to feature them in this compilation episode of my favourite festivals we have had on the programme so far: The Pacific Music Festival in Japan, the Ice Music Festival in Norway, the Klassiske Dage Festival in Denmark and the Lucerne Festival Orchestra in Lucerne…we really do get around, and I love it!

Havana, Cuba – October 2017  – Adalberto Álvarez

I was loving being in Havana for some very special episodes of Sarah´s Music. I had planned an episode all about Son, the traditional Cuban dance music and wanted to do a short interview with a Cuban Son specialist. A good friend of mine, Gonzalo Grau, put me in contact with Ali Álvarez, Adalberto´s son, who not only got his Dad to agree to an interview with me, but had him invite us to his house. I decided that a little interview in the middle of an episode was not nearly worthy of Adalberto, who is known affectionately by the Cubans as “El Caballero del Son”. So here is a whole episode dedicated to this wonderful and inspiring musician, with my huge thanks to him, his son Brayan for playing for me and to Ali for setting the whole thing up.

I´m listening to nothing else at home right now and dancing around my apartment – once you see this episode, you will be doing the same!

Havana, Cuba October 2017  – Las Estrellas di Chocolate

Let´s dance Son! Loved, loved, loved this episode! I´ve always loved to dance salsa but here I realised I knew very little…but thanks to my very patient teachers, I managed to have a ball (literally) at the end of the episode!

Bailando Son!

Havana, Cuba October 2017  – Havana Horns

This was one of the most enjoyable episodes of Sarah´s Music I have filmed so far. I am so proud of all our Havana episodes, but this one, which features the wonderful Havana Horns, is especially close to my heart.

Thanks to the Cuban European Youth Academy and the Balthasar-Neumann Foundation, I went to Havana to give a masterclass to any horn players who might be interested. Not knowing what to expect, I turned up to a packed room at the Lyceum Mozartiano and it was for me and the Cuban horns love at first sight. Their passion for the horn is incredible and I was determined to come back and make an episode of Sarah´s Music just about them, their lives and their music. Six months later I made it back to Havana with my fabulous production team and this episode is the result.

There are so many people to thank, I hardly know where to start, but thanks Lea and Cris from the Balthasar-Neumann Foundation for bringing me over, Chris Rowe and Jochen Beckmann, my wonderful cameramen who sweated through 6 days of filming with me (because it was hot…!)  Jesper Thomsen for the Making Of photos and, of course, Susana, Carla, Arlet, Ernesto and Elio, the original Havana Horns whom I simply adore – estoy muy orgullosa de ustedes!

Berlin, December 2017 Berlin State Opera, Matthias Schulz, Udo Metzner, Sebastian Weigle

Hansel and Gretel is always performed at Christmas time in Germany. Everyone loves it, even though, it’s not actually very Christmassy.  For example, Hansel and Gretel collect strawberries in the forest snd sleep outside… not really things we would do in December!

But for the German audiences, it was no surprise that Humperdinck’s opera – in its new production here by Achim Freyer – was performed as part of the Christmas programme at the newly re-opened Berlin State Opera.

The Berlin State Opera, or “Staatsoper Unter den Linden” in German, underwent a seven year renovation and re-opened recently. Everything has been impressively modernised behind the scenes while managing to retain the unique Staatsoper front of house experience for audiences.

For me it was wonderfully nostalgic to be back at the Staatsoper. It was my very first job as a horn player and I spent 10 very happy years there.  I had always found it a very special place – just like a big family – and this hasn’t changed a bit.  My visit felt like I was coming home – I loved it!

I hope you enjoy this Hansel and Gretel-filled episode and it just remains for me to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy, music-filled New Year!


Havana, Cuba October 2017 – Lyceum Orchestra Havana

Mozart in Havana! When I heard about this festival, I knew I just had to feature it on Sarah´s Music somehow. I had visited Cuba for the first time earlier this year and had immediately fallen in love with the country, the people and their music. To come back to film for work was just a wonderful excuse and I loved every minute. However, things rarely go to plan in Cuba…there’s always a surprise or two in store!

I was impressed by the standard and the passion of the young musicians studying classical music in Havana. It was a joy to play with Susana and the Havana strings in our chamber music concert and hearing the Marriage of Figaro Overture in Havana Cathedral was very special – I enjoyed watching the audience´s reaction to Mozart and the orchestra played so well.

None of this would have happened had it not been with the help of Lea Jakob and Cris Schonk from the Cuban European Youth Academy. They were the ones who organised my first masterclass in Cuba last February and were invaluable helping to organise the filming. The CuE is a wonderful organisation which supports young Cuban classical musicians, check out their Facebook page!

Although Cuba is bursting with music, classical music is not normally associated with the country so I was delighted to find how much is being done for classical music there. But their wonderful musicians need support and I am determined to do as much as I can. You can too by going to visit Cuba and, between all the Cuban music on every street corner, attend a classical music concert or two there. You’ll see what I mean!