Sarah Jeffery is one of the world’s foremost promoters of the recorder, and a passionate champion of both early and contemporary music. She has commissioned and premiered dozens of contemporary works and is regularly found performing on stages and festivals all over the globe. Off-stage, she is recognized as an expert on the instrument, appearing on the BBC, as well as being a regular feature on radio and television. For her efforts, she has received praise for “standing out from the established repertoire” and “fresh, surprising, and explosive” performances from Dutch NRC newspaper, and “the height of sonic and soundtrack cool, out there at the edges of compositional innovation and performative possiblity” from BBC Radio 3. In 2022 she was appointed ‘Recorder Professor Specialising in Contmporary Music’ at the Royal College of Music in London.
Recent accolades include Best of Classical Music 2020 in the NRC for the production While We Live, which also gathered 25 awards and nominations at international film festivals worldwide. She was recently appointed Honorary Vice President of the Society of Recorder Players in the UK, for her services to the music community. Off-stage, she is recognized as an expert on the instrument and a consummate professional presenter whether on Radio 3, discussing music education with Jeremy Vine on Radio 2, or producing books for major publishers. She is regularly asked for appointments in Hollywood, whether recording the soundtrack to Bob’s Burgers or producing content for Netflix.
She has gained significant notoriety over the years, with a full suite of past performances including contemporary stages such as Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Venice Biennale, Berlin festspiele, the Gaudeamus Festival NL, Sonorities festival Belfast, and NEU/NOW festival Glasgow. Early music podia include the London International Festival of Early Music, the Utrecht Early Music Festival, and Korkyra Baroque Festival in Croatia. Audiences recognize Jeffery as the only recorder player invited to join Splendor, the award-winning Amsterdam-based music collective, as of 2016.
Competition successes include 1st prize and the contemporary music prize at the Nordhorn International Recorder Competition, contemporary music prize at the ORDA recorder competition, and the Talent Boven Water prize at the Grachtenfestival.
Recent career highlights include a guest star appearance on BBC children’s programme ‘YolanDa’s Band Jam’, recent travels to Singapore to act as musical director for the film ‘Recorder Rewrite’, which was screened at the Venice Biennale. Jeffery’s debut album, Constellations was released in 2018, for which Jeffery attained rare permission to arrange and perform Steve Reich’s “Vermont Counterpoint.” She has performed in venues globally from New Zealand to Brazil, and throughout Europe from Romania to Finland.
In addition to her solo career, Ms. Jeffery performs regularly with a number of her own projects, ranging from experimental pop band Jerboah, to recorder trio aXolot, to Renaissance recorder consort The Royal Wind Music, and much more. Other notable ensembles Sarah has worked with include the Nieuw Ensemble, Het Zuidelijk Toneel, s t a r g a z e orchestra, Psallentes choir, Amsterdam Cello Octet, Jeugdtheater Sonnevanck, PRIME recorder ensemble, the Veenfabriek, Resonate Productions, Atlas Ensemble, and the White Noise Orchestra.
In an effort to maximize her reach, Ms. Jeffery has cultivated an educational presence both on and offline. Online, she posts weekly instructional tutorials on technique, improvisation, repertoire, and much more on her YouTube channel, Team Recorder. One of the most recognizable resources for recorder, the channel has amassed over 170,000 loyal subscribers. Her channel has worked in partnership with global brands such as Netflix, Yamaha, and ABRSM. In response to Covid Sarah developed two online courses at different levels, and these regularly sell out.
Outside YouTube, Ms. Jeffery not only has teaching experience from age five to the professional level, but also conducted improvisation and composition workshops in the SoundLAB of the Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ for eleven years. She has taught more specialized recorder courses across Europe and in Brazil and New Zealand, including at the Birmingham Conservatoire, Dartington Summer School, Conservatorium van Amsterdam, FolkWorld Summer School, and Rijksuniversiteit Groningen.
Outside pedagogy, Ms. Jeffery co-ordinates the biannual ORDA Teachers Conference in Amsterdam, and can be found giving lectures at a range of education conferences, including MERYC and the Utrecht Early Music Festival. She also has written for music publications such as Tempo, Primephonic, and Blokfluitist magazine, where she long formed part of the editorial team.
Originally from Derbyshire in the United Kingdom, Sarah Jeffery is currently based in Amsterdam. She holds both a Master of Music cum laude and Bachelor of Music diploma from the Conservatorium van Amsterdam, where she completed a thesis on the relationship between clog dancing and contemporary music theatre, and also holds a first class Bachelor of Music degree from the Birmingham Conservatoire. She is grateful to her masterful pedagogues, who include Jorge Isaac, Walter van Hauwe and Annabel Knight.