SarahFiene Cellist

Professional Experience


San Francisco cellist Sarah Fiene is an experienced musician, dedicated music educator, and innovative producer. She appears as a chamber music artist, recitalist and as a section player with orchestras such as the San Francisco Ballet. She has a class of private cello students, teaching cello and chamber music in San Francisco and Davis, California. Sarah is also the  founder, Artistic Director and solo cellist of Ensemble Phoenix.

Prior to moving to San Francisco in 1991, Sarah thrived in New York’s edgy scene as a freelance cellist working with some of the city’s top ensembles: Orchestra of St; Lukes, American Composers Orchestra and Brooklyn Philharmonic. She also worked with smaller ensembles, performed with chamber music and new music ensembles and did Broadway shows and studio work.

Sarah played her debut recital in Carnegie Recital Hall in 1991 as an Artist International Winner and subsequently was invited to perform an Artist International emeritus recital. Around this time she was a founding member and solo cellist of CELLO.

In San Francisco, ensembles Sarah has performed and toured with include Philharmonia Baroque, Empyrean Ensemble, the San Francisco Ballet and the San Francisco Symphony. She also held the tenured position of Principal Cellist of the Sacramento Philharmonic Orchestra. Sarah is the founder, Artistic Director and solo cellist of Ensemble Phoenix, formerly Trio Phoenix. Trio Phoenix recorded a CD of Chamber Music by Henry Cowell for Koch International.

Participation in summer music festivals as a chamber musician and orchestral player include Spoleto Festival Due De Monde in Charleston, South Carolina and Spoleto, Italy, Faculty member of Eastern Music Festival in Greensboro, North Carolina, Colorado Music Festival, Telluride Chamber Music Festival, North Country Chamber Players Music Festival in the White Mountains of New Hampshire and Mendocino Music Festival. 

Always eager to teach and amplify her passion for music, Sarah produced a music video, Ears Wide Open, focusing on how to listen to classical music. The video, produced in 2000, received critical acclaim and was distributed throughout the US and Canada to hundreds of public and school libraries. Then in 2004, through grants from American Composers Forum San Francisco Bay Area Chapter Submit Grant, The  Zellerbach Family Foundation, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and Friends of Trio Phoenix Inc, she collaborated with composer, Ronald Bruce Smith and Sound Designer, Jared Emerson Johnson to produce a work for acoustical cello and electronics titled COLLAGING. This work weaves together excerpts from Bach's solo cello suite in G major, Britten's solo cello suite l and transcriptions of compositions by Hildegard Von Bingen.

Sarah’s first and most influential teacher was Irene Sharp from Palo Alto. Further study at Indiana School of Music (now called the Jacobs School of Music) with Gary Hoffman and the legendary Janos Starker, earned her a Bachelor of Music degree. She received a Master of Music degree from University of Illinois where she was awarded a cello teaching assistantship and a fellowship to perform in the University of Illinois graduate String Quartet.

During her first year in New York, she continued her private study of cello as a scholarship student of Aldo Parisot at Yale University where she attended his weekly master class. She was a fellowship student at the Aspen Music Festival during the summers of 1984-86,  a scholarship student at the Banff Center in Canada in 1980 -81 where she participated in the cello master classes with Janos Starker, Aldo Parisot , Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi and Vladimir Orloff and participated in the Young Artist Program at The TangleWood Summer Music Festival 1977 -78.


Photo credit: Paolo Vescia