Andrew Clements, The Guardian 2010.
As concerto finalist in the BBC Young Musician competition in 2002, Sarah Williamson gave a highly individual performance of the Copland Clarinet Concerto with the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Andrew Davis. She has since made the Copland Concerto her own culminating in the recent release of a highly acclaimed recording under the baton of David Curtis and the Orchestra of the Swan, a recording which includes a winning performance of the Finzi Clarinet Concerto. According to Classical Music Magazine her Copland is “a convincing fusion of jazzy vitality and mellifluous tone” and “a perfect counterfoil is the anxiety-tinged lyricism of the Finzi.” This recording was CD of the Week on Classic FM Radio and chosen for CD Review on BBC Radio 3.
Sarah was the featured “Rising Star” in BBC Music Magazine, “Hot Property” in Classic FM Magazine, cover artist in Classical Music Magazine, “G Spot” artist in Muso Magazine and the “One to Watch” in Gramophone and most recently front cover and feature article, again in Muso Magazine.
Winner of numerous awards and scholarships, Sarah studied at Le Conservatoire Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris, graduating with the Premier Prix and a ‘Laureate’, the highest honour. Sarah has toured the United Arab Emirates, Tunisia (British Council), USA, Ireland, the Channel Islands and Spain. She has performed at festivals across the UK and made her debuts at London’s Wigmore Hall, South Bank Centre and Royal Albert Hall. Currently based in Britain, Sarah also plays throughout Europe and made her debut in Japan in early 2010.
Concerto performances have included the Philharmonia (in London’s Royal Albert Hall), the Orchestra of St John’s and the BBC Concert Orchestra (broadcast live), the Brighton Philharmonic (Nielsen Concerto), the Orchestra of St Martins-in-the-Fields, the City of London Sinfonia and a tour of Cyprus with the Cyprus Symphony Orchestra conducted by Carlo Ponti Jr. Chamber concerts have included performances with the Sacconi, Doric and Carducci Quartets. Sarah is active in the field of contemporary music, working with a number of composers including Joseph Phibbs who has written for Sarah both a Clarinet Sonata, premiered at the Wigmore Hall, and a Clarinet Concerto which Sarah premiered at London’s Cadogan Hall.
Highlights of 2011 included Sarah’s participation in the huge Radio 3 Mozart celebration with a performance of the Kegelstatt Trio. In 2012, as well as performing throughout Britain, in May of this year Sarah will give a recital at the Wigmore Hall, London.
Sarah’s pianist is John Reid
"Sarah Williamson finds appropriate colours for both (Copland and Finzi concertos) and makes light of their technical demands... We shall certainly be hearing of Sarah Williamson"
BBC Music Magazine, August 2010
"This CD is notable for its careful observation of Copland’s dynamic markings and for the neatness of playing by soloist and orchestra. An enjoyable account, particularly effective in ten long lines of the opening slow movement when Williamson’s sound is thoroughly alluring. The other concerto, by Finzi, is another work that suits Williamson well. Again, her sound is as mellifluous as one could wish for in the more reflective or pastoral passages, but she also brings a welcome bite where needed."
Nigel Simeone, International Record Review, June 2010
Since being a BBC Young Musician finalist in 202, Williamson has made the Copland concerto her own, and here offers a convincing fusion of jazzy vitality and mellifluous tone. A perfect counterfoil is the anxiety-tinged lyricism of the Finzi.****
Classical Music Magazine, May 2010
Her sensuously velvety tone is projected without the slightest hint of breathiness, imparting a radiant cool to the Copland Concerto, especially in the jaunty finale where her gently cushioned staccato proves especially seductive. ..... *****
JH , Classic FM Magazine, June 2010
In the cadenza-like passages in both concertos (Copland and Finzi) Williamson is wonderfully persuasive, giving the impression of improvising the music and the finale is a delight.
Edward Greenfield, Gramophone Magazine 2010
This new CD couples two excellent concerto performances by the very gifted Sarah Williamson .....She is ably partnered by David Curtiss and the Orchestra of the Swan... Sarah williamson plays both concertos in superb fashion, with a most winning sense of style, and although this is not the first CD to couple these two works on the one disc, it is certainly one of the very best in that it couples other music by these composers..... This is an admirable disk all-round.
Alexander Leonard, Musical Opinion 2010
A superb player
Michael Church, The Independent, 200
Sarah Williamson emphasised that wistful, yet confident, sound which seems to come only from English composers. (Finzi’s Five Bagatelles arr for String quartet & Clarinet). In a performance that overall perhaps emphasised the cheerful rather than the sombre emotions in the music, Williamson blended seamlessly in and out of the string writing – it sounded as if she had been a lifelong member of the Carducci team. (Brahms’ Clarinet Quintet)
Giles Woodforde, Oxford Times 2007
“An imaginative programme, beguiling tone, and zestful presentation spiced the stage of the Purcell Room on 18 May in the Kirckman Concert Society recital by clarinettist Sarah Williamson, a finalist in the 2002 BBC Young Musician of the Year Competition’. Chief amongst many merits was Sarah Williamson’s eloquently shaped tone, light and delicately shaded with a warm chalumeau where necessary, as in the slow movement of the Poulenc Sonata and Weber’s Grand Duo. The duo’s precise co-ordination and flow were especially appealing in the rhythmically complex Sonatina by Frank martin, with its slinky Chromatic slow movement and jazzy finale. Poulenc’s Sonata bristled with bonhomie, contrasting Weill-like piquancy with the characteristic harmonic richness and wit of Les Six, the final swaggering with sparkle…. Williamson’s graceful virtuosity was most boldly evident in the tour de force, Weber’s grand duo, as enjoyable for audiences as it is challenging for performers, with its fizzing musical repartee. Two cadenzas dazzled in the fascinating works chosen to frame the programme: the Hungarian Dances by Leo Weiner….and the tuneful Solo de Concours by Andre Messager. The duo’s first-rate performance throughout was capped by their panache in the thrilling encore, James Cohn’s arrangement of a Gershwin Prelude”.
Musical Opinion, Purcell Room July 2004