Education and Background
Originally from San Jose, California, Sarah Benton is a flutist based in the San Francisco Bay Area and is the newly appointed principal flute with Symphony Silicon Valley (SSV). Her recent engagements with SSV include child prodigy Alma Deutscher’s American debut under the baton of Alasdair Neale, as well as performing the featured flute solo in Claude Debussy’s Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune with conductor Carlos Alberto Vieu.
As an orchestral flutist, Sarah has attended many orchestral festivals, including the National Orchestral Institute + Festival, Eastern Music Festival, and the National Symphony Orchestra’s Summer Music Institute at The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. In her orchestral career, she has worked under the batons of conductors such as Teddy Abrams, Andrés Cárdenes, Paul Polivnick, Arild Remmereit, John Morris Russell, Carl Topilow, Yan Pascal Tortelier, and Osmo Vänskä. She has played principal flute in The Kennedy Center, Carnegie Music Hall (Pittsburgh, PA), and The California Theatre. During her time with the San Jose Youth Symphony under Maestro Yair Samet, she was given the opportunity to play principal flute on their European tour and perform in the famous Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria.
An avid solo flutist, Sarah was selected as a winner of the National Flute Association’s Masterclass Performer Competition in 2013 (New Orleans, LA) and won first prize in the Coeur d’Alene Symphony’s Young Artist Competition (Coeur d’Alene, ID). She made her concerto debut with the Coeur d’Alene Symphony in March 2014, performing Carl Reinecke’s Flute Concerto in D Major. Sarah has also performed in various solo recitals throughout California, Oregon, and Pennsylvania.
Sarah received her Master’s in Music from Carnegie Mellon University under the study of Professor Alberto Almarza (former principal flute of the Santiago Symphony) as his graduate teaching assistant. Additionally, she was given the opportunity to perform in lessons and masterclasses for Jeanne Baxtresser (former principal flutist of the New York Philharmonic) and Lorna McGhee (principal flutist of the Pittsburgh Symphony). Sarah also holds a Bachelor’s in Music from the University of Oregon, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude under the tutelage of Professor Molly Barth. Upon graduation from the University of Oregon, she received awards as an Outstanding Scholar in Music Theory and an Outstanding Performer in Woodwind Studies.
Sarah has also performed for teachers such as Bonita Boyd, Bart Feller, Christina Jennings, Marya Martin, Demarre McGill, Paula Robison, Les Roettges, and Jim Walker.
My greatest strength in teaching is that I cater to the aspirations and needs of each individual student. I believe in fostering an encouraging and welcoming atmosphere in my lessons, in which the student feels completely comfortable and understood while still being challenged to their full potential.
Students will study the standard classical flute repertoire in depth. This will include a wide range of warm-up exercises, etudes, and pieces from the solo repertoire. Mastery of tone and technique will be emphasized and monitored closely. Students will have many performing opportunities available to them. These include studio recitals, solo competitions, and auditioning for state honor ensembles and youth symphonies.