Sarah Watts studied at the Royal Academy of Music with Angela Malsbury and Victoria Soames Samek (bass clarinet). Sarah then decided to specialise in the bass clarinet and studied at the Rotterdam Conservatorium on the postgraduate solo bass clarinet course with Henri Bok, funded by the Countess of Munster Musical Trust and in 2002 a Leverhulme Trust Studentship. At the end of her course in Rotterdam Sarah was awarded the Exxon prize for the best classical music student.
Successes include: Winner, UK Howarth Clarinet Competition 2000; Winner, Hawkes Clarinet Prize (RAM) 2001; Winner, Sir Arthur Bliss Chamber Music Prize (RAM) 2000; Winner of wind section and Faber Prize, UK Performing Australian Music competition, 2001 (her clarinet and bass clarinet recital was broadcast on ABC radio); Finalist, Wind section, Royal Overseas League Competition 2000.
Sarah specialises on the bass clarinet with the intention of increasing it’s popularity as a solo instrument, she has performed solo repertoire in England, Ireland, Scotland and the Netherlands and has attracted composers such as Marc Yeats, Ian Wilson, Kevin O Connell, Alicia Grant and Sungji Hong to write works for her. In January 2003, Sarah performed a solo bass clarinet recital in London’s Purcell Room as part of the Park Lane Group Young Artist Series.
Sarah has taken bass clarinet repertoire classes and composition workshops at the Royal Academy of Music, Trinity College of Music, Royal Irish Academy of Music, Royal Welsh College of Music and Keele University. Sarah was an artist on the Live Music Now Scheme, and currently performs regularly with Nottingham based pianist Antony Clare in their duo SCAW, Cuillin Sound, rarescale and the Southwell Collective. Sarah was also a founder member of the World Bass Clarinet Foundation and an organiser for the First World Bass Clarinet Convention in Holland in October 2005.
Sarah has recently started a PHD at Keele University looking into and constructing new multiphonic charts for the bass clarinet and will shortly be working with composers on a set on new multiphonic etudes as part of her research.