Associate Professor, Music
Music Bldg, Room 242
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, DMA 2009
New England Conservatory, MM 2002
Swarthmore College, BA 1999
Sara Fraker is Associate Professor of Oboe at the University of Arizona 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. She 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 UArizona Laboratory for Tree-Ring Research. The recipient of a 2020 UArizona Production Grant, Sara is working with an interdisciplinary faculty group to bring this project to fruition. She 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 was awarded 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 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: music for oboe & English horn on MSR Classics in 2019. She has also recorded for Naxos, Summit Records, Toccata Classics, Analekta, and Reference Recordings.
Sara has presented recitals and master classes across the US and in Canada, Mexico, Japan, Australia and the Tohono O'odham Nation. In additon to recitals at five recent conferences of the International Double Reed Society, Sara has also presented her work at the CMS National Conference in Vancouver, BC. At the University of Arizona she has taught oboe pedagogy, reedmaking, oboe techniques for music education majors, Music in World Cultures, and chamber music. Sara is a member of the Arizona Wind Quintet, UA's faculty ensemble-in-residence, which has enjoyed performances across Southern Arizona and in Los Angeles, El Paso, Ciudad Juárez, and La Facultad de Música (UNAM) in Mexico City.
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 Orchestral Academy 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.