o g r a p h y 

Sarah Rose Stiles 
I grew up in an eclectic musical household in Sonoma County, CA, where my ear was fed anything from Monteverdi and the Rollingstones, to Bach Cantatas and the Kingston Trio, my mother’s sight-reading at the piano, or my father’s Appalachian strummin’ and a hollerin.’

Training as a classical pianist resulted in a youth of performance, auditions, competitions, and winning awards.

My focus transitioned toward composing as my rebellious teenage spirit met the revolutions of Schoenberg and Stravinsky. Twentieth Century music fueled me to follow suite in spirit. Raised with self-independent values, I explored untaught and instantly found my own compositional voice. This was reinforced and supported by Professor Will Johnson who encouraged me to strike out and embrace “my own music.” I ganged up with some other youth to form a Composers’ Club, and organized concerts at the local Junior College.

While studying music at U.C. Berkeley, I continued to compose unsupervised. Nonetheless, I believe I was truly gaining the best composition lessons the whole time by virtue of required classes such as music history, ethnomusicology, piano, and of course theory, counterpoint, and orchestration, which all required study and analysis of compositions. It was not until my last semester I was finally able to take my first official composition class. Berkeley days ended with a Bachelor of Arts in Music.

From there on, I continued to compose independently and organize my own concerts. Soon, I became involved with the Bay Area Composers’ Circle, which was around the same time I decided to return to school. I earned a Masters in Music in Composition from the San Francisco Conservatory where my music was featured with the New Music Ensemble, and many other exceptional artists.

Post-masters, I have continued the path of composition, organizing my own concerts. In 2013 I was awarded a Faculty Grant from the San Francisco Community Music Center to fund my local-premiere of matins: three nocturnes, featured in a community concert I organized called All Shades Between......an eventide concert of light and dark pieces. Other performances of my ouvre include a recent premiere in December 2017 with the experimental sfSoundSeries, a featured artist at the Meridian Gallery’s Composers in Performance Series, New Keys Concert Series featuring pianist Regina Schaffer, the Outsound Series at the Luggage Store Gallery, the Temescal Experiment as part of the Oakland Art Murmur, Berkeley Arts Festival, and with the Cornelius Cardew Choir.

I get a kick out of performing with the Cornelius Cardew Choir, an avant-garde experimental performance-art ensemble of composer-performer-improvisers. Along with performances of my own works, with the Cardew Choir I had the opportunity to perform with Pauline Oliveros in her Tower Ring at the Oliver Ranch, an independent art grounds in Geyserville, CA in 2011.

Most recently I was awarded the Diversity in Computer Music Scholarship to attend a weeklong workshop in August 2018 at Stanford University studying the SuperCollider programming environment.  

For a year I was an Artist in Residence at the San Francisco School for the Arts where I taught music theory and musicianship. Since 2010 I have been an ensemble director and arranger, theory and musicianship instructor for the Young Musicians’ Program at the San Francisco Community Music Center. I also teach private lessons and classes in composition, improvisation, theory, musicianship, and piano throughout the Greater SF Bay Area.

My future interests look toward applying for Doctoral studies in music composition, delving further into electronic composition, acoustics, and psychoacoustics.

Outside of music, I find myself easily engaged in science, environmentalism, nature and the outdoors, kayaking, backpacking, and recently succeeding with pride at digging and camping in my own snow-trench.

My website is http://www.SarahStiles.com