Sabrina Parry


Hometown: Salt Lake City, UT

Alma maters: Eastman School of Music, 2013–17; Louisiana State University 2018–20 

Instagram: @sabrinakahlan

Photos by Matt Dine


Awards/competitions: Winner, 2018 LSU Concerto Competition

Appearances: National Repertory Orchestra, 2017

What is your earliest memory of classical music? I have to mention both Fantasia and the album Hooked on Classics. These are undoubtedly both my introduction to classical music, and while some might think it’s cheesy, I am so grateful for it! The visuals in Fantasia juxtaposed with some of the most iconic music always had me coming back for more, and my appreciation for the music grew at a very young age. In addition, how could one forget the aerobic atmosphere created by adding drum beats to pieces like Flight of the Bumblebee? You could say I was quickly hooked . . . on classics.

When did you realize you wanted to pursue music as a career? There had been some whisperings about medical school when I was a kid, but when I started playing piano and violin and taking voice lessons all between the ages of 5 and 6, my heart took a pretty serious stance on music. I had certainly never enjoyed doing anything more, and I consider myself lucky to still feel the same way!

Who is your biggest inspiration? Leslie Knope. 

Which composer or genre of music do you feel you connect with the most? I have to admit that there is probably no better way for me to get some dopamine than singing Disney songs at the top of my lungs (alone in my car)!

What is your favorite piece of music, and why do you love it? An Alpine Symphony by Richard Strauss. His tone poems are all made of his very vivid storytelling, but this piece in particular is my absolute favorite. Perhaps it’s because I grew up surrounded by mountains, but I believe the deeper meaning of the journey in this piece is an epic representation of life itself.

What has been your favorite experience as a musician? Without a doubt, it has been all the collaborations I’ve had with my colleagues. I’ve learned the most about music and life while playing with other students and becoming friends with them. Music is undeniably a language of its own, and creating it with those closest to me has been the most cherished experience of my life.

Favorite non-classical musician or band: Hiatus Kaiyote. They’re based in Australia and I’ve been dying for them to come to America so I can have a chance to experience their creativity live, and now who knows when that will ever happen?!

If you could play another instrument, what would it be? Ocarina

If you weren’t a musician, what would you be doing? I think I’d be just down the block performing onstage as an actress. I’ve loved musical theatre since I was able to take my first acting class in middle school and I made sure to be a part of as much as possible. Most recently, I portrayed Rona Lisa Peretti in a production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at the University of Rochester!

What is your favorite place you’ve travelled to and why? Disneyland in California

Tell us something about yourself that might surprise us: I can play the piano upside down. 

Piece of advice for a young classical musician: Don’t worry about anyone else’s relationship with music, or the pressure to compete that may surround you. Discover your own quirks that make classical music important to you, which will help you create a narrative for audiences to understand and relate to.