Sarah Schoeffler


Hometown: Cleveland Heights, OH

Alma mater: Mannes College of Music, B.M. & M.M.

Photo by Matt Dine


Appearances: Arezzo Opera Festival, Italy, 2017–18; Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival, 2014–15; Meadowmount School of Music, 2012–13; Bowdoin International Music Festival, 2011; Indiana University Summer String Academy, 2009–12

What is your earliest memory of classical music? I come from a family of musicians, and my earliest memory of classical music is listening to my mom practicing Schumann’s Kinderszenen, Op. 15. To this day hearing Kinderszenen reminds me of being a little kid again and it is one of my favorite pieces of classical music!

Who is your biggest inspiration? Pablo Casals. Finding his recording of the Bach Suites prompted me to begin studying cello! In addition, Casals was not only an incredible cellist, he was an ardent supporter of democracy and human rights and chose exile over compromising his values.

What has been your favorite experience as a musician? I don’t think I could pick just one, honestly. It was incredibly exciting to perform with my piano trio at Carnegie Hall in 2016. Another one of my favorite memories is performing excerpts from Kaija Saariaho’s opera L’Amour de loin—Kaija herself was at all the rehearsals, and the performance was with Metropolitan Opera soprano Susanna Phillips!

Favorite non-classical musician or band: Beyoncé, hands down. Her versatility as an artist never fails to amaze me.

Which three people, dead or alive, would you like to have dinner with and why? Pablo Casals, because of what an inspiration he is to me as a cellist. Steven Isserlis, because he seems to have such a holistic sense of what it means to be a musician. And finally, the author Haruki Murakami, because I’d love to ask him about the meaning behind some of the symbolism he uses throughout his writing.

Tell us something about yourself that might surprise us: I used to train guide dog puppies for Guiding Eyes for the Blind! I trained a Labrador Retriever for a year and a half who then went on to serve as a guide dog for six years.

Piece of advice for a young classical musician: Pursue interests outside of music . . . be a well-rounded artist!