Poster Woman holding a violin
Violinist Sarah Ma
Joella Byron-Dixon
Performance Today®

Young Artist in Residence: Sarah Ma

PT - Young Artist in Residence - Sarah Ma - Parts 1 & 2

Violinist Sarah Ma is an Asian American artist from Queens, New York who is deeply committed to cultural advocacy, inclusion and artistic collaboration.

When we asked them the 5-year question regarding their future in music, Ma told us that whether it’s five years or fifty years, the answer would be the same. They said, “Making music is the most human thing that humans do” and “there’s zero doubt in my mind that in 50 years I’m still going to be making music for the sake of community because in the end…music feeds our community and there’s no other reason to be making music than that.”

It's clear that for them, community is at the very heart of everything they do. Here’s a long non-comprehensive list of accomplishments as evidence:

  • While in undergrad, Ma conducted research focused on identifying solutions to improve the artistic livelihoods of conservatory students.

  • They are an interdisciplinary artist with an educational background is in Comparative American Studies and Gender, Sexuality, & Feminist Studies.

  • They helped found the Poeisis Quartet in 2022, which seeks to center non-traditional genres and underrepresented works in their programming.

  • Ma has provided free music lessons to low-income students across the U.S. through the music education program Through the Staff.

  • Ma is also an activist who has organized and participated in various protests and community events involving music, racial justice and the role of art in radical activism.

In 2023, they completed several artistic residencies while on tour in Uruguay.

Now, expanding their ever-growing list of accomplishments, Sarah Ma is the first in the 2023-2024 class of Performance Today Young Artists in Residence.

Last year, Ma alongside her fellow Poeisis Quartet members swept the 2023 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition when they won Fischoff’s Grand Prize, the Senior Strings Gold Medal and the Lift Every Voice prize. No stranger to competitive achievement, Ma was the youngest competitor and 2nd Prizewinner at the 2023 Dallas International Violin Competition. In 2017 and 2019, they were the youngest semi-finalist in the Cooper International Violin Competition and in 2016, they received the special prize for “Best Virtuoso Piece” in Italy’s Il Piccolo Violino Magico.

As a soloist, Ma has performed with such orchestras as the Dallas Chamber Symphony, the New York Chamber Players Orchestra and Manhattan School of Music’s Symphony Orchestra.

Ma holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Violin Performance from Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Ohio. They are currently pursuing an Artist Diploma at the University of Cincinnati's College-Conservatory of Music where they study alongside their Poeisis Quartet members under the guidance of Kristin Lee and the Ariel Quartet.

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