Sarah Gibson, composer

Sarah Gibson headshot

Sarah Gibson is a Los Angeles based composer and pianist whose works draw on her breadth of experience as a collaborative performer with a deep interest in the creative process across various artistic mediums. She has received honors and recognitions such as the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra's Sound Investment composer, American Composers Orchestra Underwood New Music Readings, Copland House Residency, Victor Herbert ASCAP award, and a Chamber Music America Grant. She has received commissions from the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Tanglewood Music Center, Arco Collaborative, Toulmin Foundation, Aspen Summer Music Festival & School, and Seattle Symphony, among others. Gibson’s music has been performed by the BBC Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Atlanta, Sarasota, and Seattle Symphonies, Jennifer Koh, HOCKET, and at various venues across the United States and in Europe.

Sarah is co-founder of the new music piano duo, HOCKET, which has been lauded as "brilliant" by the LA Times' Mark Swed, and is a core artist for the inimitable Los Angeles Series, Piano Spheres. HOCKET has held residences at Avaloch Farm Music Institute and received grants from the Earle Brown Music Foundation and the Presser Foundation. HOCKET has performed with Seattle Symphony, Aspen Contemporary Ensemble, Kaleidscope Chamber Orchestra, and at such festivals as the MATA Festival, the L.A. Philharmonic's Noon to Midnight, Eighth Blackbird Creative Lab, and the Other Minds Festival.

Sarah received degrees in Piano and Composition from Indiana University and the University of Southern California. Alongside Artistic Director Andrew Norman, she is the Lead-Teaching Artist for the esteemed Los Angeles Philharmonic Composer Fellowship Program. Sarah is Assistant Teaching Professor in Composition at the University of California, Santa Barbara in the College of Creative Studies and Music Department where she is the director of the Ensemble for Contemporary Music.

Sarah Gibson's piece Soak Stain premiered with the Grossman Ensemble on May 19, 2023. 


Program notes:

An innovative technique created by American abstract expressionist painter Helen Frankenthaler, “soak stain” involves diluting acrylic paint until it is fluid enough to pour onto a raw canvas from a coffee can. In Frankenthaler’s paintings, this technique allows one to see a color compete and blend with its contiguous rival. I love this approach and the way it provides both structured blocks of color in Frankenthaler’s works and leaves amoebalike and uneven edges as various colors meet. In my piece, I try to play with this idea by evoking clear formal structures defined by liquid melodies and melting textures.

Grossman Ensemble premieres Sarah Gibson's "Soak Stain"