Sarah Thomas, (she/her)

(MM ‘19, violin)

Violinist, Educator, Arts Administrator

Violinist Sarah Thomas is a performer and educator who strives to create an environment for performers and audience members to share the experience of loving music together. She is a member of the Bergamot Quartet, a string quartet committed to the music of living composers. She has performed with ensembles and musicians including Sō Percussion, arx duo, Dan Trueman, Claire Chase, and Terry Sweeney. Sarah is also a staff and faculty member at Peabody Conservatory, where she earned undergraduate and graduate degrees.

Tell us about your journey to your current career path. What were the pivotal moments? What surprised you?

I had the opportunity to play chamber music from a very young age. I’ve always found it fun and exciting, and looking back over the years I can see that each varied experience I had playing with other people led me to my career path. What I never fully expected was to be a member of a nearly full-time string quartet, which is where I am now. I always knew chamber music would be part of my life but was unsure what form that would take. An extra surprise was that our quartet plays almost entirely new music! This is something I wouldn’t have expected ten years ago but has brought so much joy and fulfillment.

What opportunities did you take advantage of in school that helped you to build helpful skills and experiences?

As a Peabody student, two of my main goals were to understand what my career options were as a violinist and artist and to learn what I enjoyed doing with my craft. I took a wide variety of classes that piqued my interest, exploring new music, early music, arts administration, musicology, improvisation, and so much more! I also spent time in Community-Based Learning programs such as the Peabody String Sinfonia. All these experiences helped me figure out what I find the most fulfilling in my artistic work and what that could look like moving forward.

How has your network and/or community impacted your professional journey?

Now that I’m able to look back over the past ten years or so, it has become so clear that my community and mentors have inspired, motivated, and helped me every step of the way. This includes Peabody faculty encouraging me to explore new ideas and ways of making music; former classmates becoming collaborators and supporters years later; opportunities coming up after conversations about shared interests; mentors encouraging Bergamot Quartet to stick to it and keep growing; and so much more. It’s been beautiful and surprising to see these connections grow throughout the years!

What is an obstacle or challenge you’ve faced in your career journey, and how did you overcome it?

As with any field, the flow of both performance and administrative work during the year includes seasons that are hectic and times that are slower. Something I find difficult is adjusting between these times. It can be hard not to crash emotionally and physically after a busy time, or to prepare myself for the coming intensity of a hectic period. I’m still working to find this balance, but some things I’ve found helpful include allowing myself to rest without guilt when possible; planning my days, meals, schedule, and rest time ahead of a busy stretch; and accepting and allowing space for inevitable ups and downs.

Have your goals and priorities changed over time? If so, how?

I’ve always wanted chamber music to be part of my life, so in that way my big-picture goal has stayed consistent. But the smaller goals—what that looks like, what else I might be doing, day-to-day sustainability—those have changed and continue to change. For me, my current goal is finding a fulfilling, manageable balance between the different work I’m doing as well as financial stability. I suspect that balance will continue to shift and change over the years, and that’s a good thing! My days and priorities certainly look different now than they did while I was in school, and they will probably look different ten years from now as well.

Hear more from Sarah Thomas here in her Max Q podcast episode. Plus there’s an episode with the entire Bergamot Quartet!


Social Media

@sarahthomas479, @bergamotquartet