Sara Fraker is the Associate Professor of Oboe at the University of Arizona Fred Fox School of Music and a member of the Tucson Symphony Orchestra. She spends her summers in residence as a faculty artist at the Bay View Music Festival in northern Michigan. Sara is principal oboist of True Concord Voices & Orchestra and a featured soloist on their two recent album releases, one of which garnered two Grammy nominations.
Sara is currently engaged in a diverse array of creative projects. In 2021, she commissioned Australian composer Lachlan Skipworth to create a piece for reed trio and electronics, inspired by tree-ring data and the climate crisis. The piece will be premiered in December 2021 at the Laboratory for Tree-Ring Research at the University of Arizona, the largest facility of its kind. Sara is also producing a world-premiere recording of the woodwind music of ultramodernist composer Johanna M. Beyer (1888-1944) for New World Records, with new print editions for Frog Peak Music. In March 2022, Sara will premiere an exciting new commission for oboe and piano by composer S. Maggie Polk Olivo, entitled White Sand & Gray Sand.
Sara is the recipient of a 2017 Artist Research and Development Grant from the Arizona Commission on the Arts for a solo commissioning and recording project, in collaboration with composer Asha Srinivasan and plant ecologist Robin Wall Kimmerer. The resulting piece, Braiding, was featured on CBC Radio in 2020. An advocate for interdisciplinary creative work, she recently joined the affiliated faculty of UArizona’s Institutes for Resilience: Solutions for the Environment and Society (AIR).
With pianist Casey Robards, Sara released the album BOTANICA on MSR Classics in 2019. She has also recorded for Summit Records, Toccata Classics, Analekta, and Reference Recordings. She has presented recitals at five recent conferences of the International Double Reed Society, including Tokyo and New York City. Sara is oboist of the Arizona Wind Quintet, which enjoyed a residency at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) in Mexico City and has toured extensively through the Southwest. She has given masterclasses at universities and performing arts schools across the US and in Australia. Sara performed the Mozart Oboe Concerto with the Sierra Vista Symphony and Jennifer Higdon's Oboe Concerto with the UA Wind Ensemble. She plays a Howarth LXV cocobolo oboe and a Lorée OY series English horn.
Sara held the Gillet Fellowship at the Tanglewood Music Center and was a participant in the Tanglewood Bach Seminar. She has also performed at the Aspen Music Festival, Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival, Chautauqua, Spoleto Festival USA, and the prestigious Schleswig-Holstein Orchester Akademie in Germany. Sara has played with numerous orchestras, including the Phoenix Symphony, Arizona Opera, Broadway in Tucson, St. Andrews Bach Society, Tucson Pops, Illinois Symphony, Champaign-Urbana Symphony, Brockton Symphony, Newton Symphony, New Bedford Symphony, Gardner Chamber Orchestra, and Sinfonia da Camera.
Raised in New Haven, Connecticut, Sara is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (DMA), New England Conservatory (MM), and Swarthmore College (BA). She was a National Merit Scholar and recipient of the Garrigues Scholarship, Peter Gram Swing Prize, and Kate Neal Kinley Memorial Fellowship. Her principal teachers include Robert Botti, John Dee, Mark McEwen, Jonathan Blumenfeld, Sandra Gerster Lisicki, and John de Lancie. Her doctoral thesis, The Oboe Works of Isang Yun, explores twenty solo and chamber pieces by the Korean composer, with a focus on tonal language and relationships to East Asian philosophy.