Great friends, great chamber music: THIS Sunday

It all started with a glass of bourbon, a plate full of crackers, and some insanely delectable¬†butter (the organic butter from the local farmer’s market that’s so delicious and addictive, it has been lovingly coined¬†“crack butter”). I was sitting in the middle of the Blue Ridge mountains with Anne Lanzilotti, one of my dearest friends, and slowly our conversation evolved into something along these lines…

Anne: We should really read Caroline’s duo sometime. It’s super easy to put together, and it would be so much fun to play it with you.
Sara: YESSSS. I would love that. Ya know, it would be great if we could even convince someone to let us perform it.
Anne: That WOULD be great. What if we put a whole show together?
Sara: I actually think we could make that happen. I can hook us up in Chicago…

Sara and Anne scheming in Brooklyn last week

More bourbon was consumed, more crack butter spread, and as we continued pondering together, a concert idea began to take shape: an evening filled with the string chamber music of Caroline Shaw, an old friend of both of ours…..who also happens to be a Pulitzer prize winning composer.

The show that we’ve come up with, which happens to be this Sunday night, is one of my favorite recent projects because it’s a coming together of old friends, new friends, quirky melodies, rich and open harmonies, innovative adaptations, and, well, excuses to fly one of my best friends out to Chicago to collaborate with me and my in-town musical soulmates, the ladies of Chicago Q Ensemble.

This will be NO stiff-collared classical music affair. If you come out, you can expect to hear Caroline’s music interweaved between old stories of camp friends, arrangements of string quartets for two violas instead of two violins (with Caroline’s blessing, of course!), flower pot percussion mastered by the fantabulous Jake Harpster, as well as the tales and travails of going to every Home Depot in the area to test the pitches of said flower pots. Caroline’s music is filled with joy and lightness, and is typically written for her friends. Taking that as our cue, the evening will be a celebration of our own friendships as we share the sheer delight of this music with you.

Sunday, January 25th
3111 N. Western Ave.

Limestone and Felt, for viola and cello
Valencia, for string quartet
In Manus Tuas, for solo viola
Punctum, for string quartet
Boris Kerner, for cello and flower pots
Entr’acte, for string quartet

You’re Invited!


I’m writing to invite you all to a handful of solo/chamber concerts I have coming up over the coming months. Usually I’m not one to get all self-promotey like this, but there are so many interesting projects that I’m excited about that I just couldn’t help myself this time. Take a look at the events below–I would love to see you at one, some, or all of them!

Warmest regards,


“Beautiful Bach” on the “Musicians at Mayslake” Series

An all-Bach recital consisting of the 3 gamba sonatas as well as the D minor unaccompanied cello suite. Featuring yours truly on cello alongside the fabulous Stephen Alltop on harpsichord.

Thursday, November 20th
Mayslake Peabody Estate

1717 W. 31st Street
Oak Brook, IL 60523
$25 general admission, $23 seniors, $7 students


“In Concert”: A Dance and Music Collaboration

A collaboration between many musicians and many dancers! Presented in part by the chamber music series that I have co-founded this year, Chamber Music on the Fox, as well as Elgin’s hippest arts organization, Side Street Studio Arts. The lineup will be a little different each night, but on Saturday you can catch me playing the D minor Bach Suite alongside the dancers of Core Project Chicago, and both nights will feature a mega-collaboration between the dancers of Core Project Chicago, me, and a bunch of my contemporary-classical cronies, with live original choreography set to the music of Pulitzer Prize winning composer David Lang.

Friday and Saturday, November 21st and 22nd
Elgin Art Showcase

164 Division Street (8th floor)
Elgin, IL 60120
$12 online, $15 at the door


Bluebeard’s Castle

As far as operas go, Bela Bartok’s “Bluebeard’s Castle” is definitely one of my faves, and I’m pumped to be playing it with the New Millennium Orchestra. I know, I know, I told you I was only going to tell you about the solo and chamber concerts I have coming up, but this one was too irresistible to leave out. How could you pass up a creepy one-act opera about a sketchy new husband in a sketchy old castle?

Thursday, December 4th
Thalia Hall

1807 S Allport
Chicago, IL 60608


Chicago Q Ensemble’s Birthday Brunch!

My beloved string trio is having a birthday party! We’re turning 5 years old, and we figured the best way to celebrate would be with a fundraiser brunch (we give you mimosas, you give us donations). Join us! It’s going to be a blast, and might just feature a special premiere and even…..PARTY FAVORS.

Sunday, December 7th
Dixon Stein

410 S Michigan Ave, Suite 801
Chicago, IL 60605
$20 friends, $50 superfans (or a donation of any amount if you can only be there “in spirit”)


Caroline Shaw Portrait concert

My good friend Anne Lanzilotti (aka new music violist extraordinaire) and I had been scheming recently, and all of a sudden our schemes have turned into an actual plan. She’s going to be flying in from NYC to play a concert with me, along with some of my other favorite people (including the Chicago Q ladies), on the Frequency Series at Constellation! We’ll play a recital of pieces by Pulitzer Prize winning composer (and old camp friend!) Caroline Shaw, including a piece for solo viola, a duo for viola and cello, another duo for cello and flowerpots (yes, you read that right), and several string quartets. Caroline’s music is beautiful, and it should be a pretty fun time for all involved–especially me, since I just convinced Anne to come visit me.

Sunday, January 25th

3111 N Western Ave
Chicago, IL 60618
Ticket info not available yet, but check Constellation’s website in a month or so!