Sarah Hicks's versatile and vibrant musicianship has secured her place as an in-demand conductor across an array of genres, and as an educator, arranger, producer, writer and speaker committed to creating connections through music. Her career has seen collaborations with diverse artists, from Hilary Hahn and Dmitiri Hvorostovsky to Rufus Wainwright, Jennifer Hudson and Smokey Robinson; during the summer of 2011 she toured with Sting as conductor of his Symphonicities Tour. Her passion for cross-genre partnerships led to a 2019 album with rap artist Dessa and the Minnesota Orchestra, with whom she holds a titled position; in 2021 she collaborated with gamer DrLupo for an innovative live-play project for Intel Gaming.
A specialist in film music and the film in concert genre, she has premiered “Pixar in Concert” and “Coco in Concert”; her live concert recording of “A Celebration of the Music of Coco at the Hollywood Bowl” can be seen on Disney+ and her work on “Little Mermaid Live” was broadcast on ABC. Since 2019, she has acted as consultant for Disney Concerts in developing live-to-film products. Her concerts with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra of film music, “The Morricone Duel” was released as an album and worldwide broadcast in 2018 and has garnered over 150 million view on YouTube.
A highly sought-after guest conductor, Ms. Hicks has worked extensively both in the States and abroad. Notable ensembles include the Philadelphia Orchestra, Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Boston Pops, Grant Park Music Festival, Toronto Symphony, Melbourne Symphony, RTÉ (Dublin) Orchestra, Czech National Symphony Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, WDR Köln, St. Petersburg Philharmonic, and Tokyo Philharmonic, among many others. The 2022-23 season sees her returning to San Francisco, Cleveland and Seattle and marks debuts with the Baltimore Symphony and BBC Concert Orchestra.
Her opera appearances include the East Slovak State Opera Theater and the Curtis Opera Theater, as well as operas in concert with the Minnesota Orchestra and the RTÉ Orchestra. Her commitment to new music led to the creation of an innovative micro-commission project with the Minnesota Orchestra, and her recording of new concertos, “Triple Doubles” was released on the Bridge label.
Ms. Hicks is a frequent guest lecturer and panelist and was on faculty of the Curtis Institute of Music from 2000 to 2005 and Staff Conductor until 2012. Her presentation, “The Art of Conducting”, has illustrated collaborative leadership to numerous organizations, civic groups and corporations. Since September of 2020 she has been the principal host of This is Minnesota Orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra's live broadcast and digital series, and has received multiple regional Emmy nominations as writer, host, conductor and producer. Her interest in mental health and music led to the production of a concert titled “Music and the Mind”, and her commitment to open conversation about mental health continues through her blog, YouTube series and other online advocacy. She is currently developing a music and wellness digital series in partnership with the Mayo Clinic for the Minnesota Orchestra, and is producing a companion concert for summer of 2023.
Sarah Hicks was born in Tokyo, Japan and raised in Honolulu, HI. Trained on both the piano and the viola, she was a prizewinning pianist by her early teens. She received her BA magna cum laude from Harvard University in composition and holds an Artists' Diploma in conducting from the Curtis Institute of Music, where she studied with the late renowned pedagogue Otto-Werner Mueller. In her spare time, Ms. Hicks enjoys running, hiking, her Papillon, cooking (and eating) with her husband, traveling and blogging.