Sbotolau is new series of digital introductions to music creators in Aberystwyth and wider Ceredigion, hosted by MusicFest Aberystwyth.

For spring 2022, we want to introduce a composer of international standing from the local area, Sarah Lianne Lewis, a composer of bold and imaginative contemporary classical music that blurs the boundary between acoustic and electronic sound.

Sarah has a long-standing relationship with Musicfest Aberystwyth, as a one-time participant in our summer school as a young composer to being commissioned in 2021 by Musicfest for an evocative solo piano work for Yshani Perinpanayagam.

Described as “quiet and delicate” and “full of imaginative sonorities”, her music explores subtle intricacies of texture, engaging audiences in unique soundscapes and sonic atmospheres.  She often writes about connection, climate change and the natural world, informed by a female disabled perspective.

Before we find out more about Sarah and her work, here are two works to whet your appetite:

‘If the earth forgets you’ [2021]

Commissioned and recorded by Blank Space Ensemble, supported by Musikfonds e.V.

‘Apart we are not alone’ and ‘Together Apart’ [2020]

‘Together Apart’ was commissioned by BBC Radio 3 ‘Postcards from Composers’ and premiered by Lesley Hatfield in May 2020.
‘Apart we are not alone’ was written for – and premiered by – Fenella Humphreys in May 2020.

What has Sarah been up to recently?

Sarah has recently worked on several projects that have been exploring the nature of collaboration between composer and musician.

The Parting Place

Her new micro-opera ‘The Parting Place’, written with librettist Sophia Chapadjiev was commissioned by the Royal Opera House in partnership with Casco Phil, Curated Place and St Pancras International Station.  The work explored themes of travel and relationships, inspired by stories sent in by the public, and was premiered in St Pancras International Station on International Women’s Day on 8th March 2022, one of seven female-created and female-led micro-operas commissioned for the event.

Trailer (begins at 0:24)

Stars and their Consolations

She has also collaborated with storytellers Daniel Morden and Hugh Lupton, composing an electronic soundscape exploring Greek myth in ‘Stars and their Consolations’. 
The full-length storytelling-theatre work was premiered in multiple formats at Beyond the Border Storytelling Festival in July 2021 (both staged to a live audience, and live broadcast through silent-disco headphones to a late-night audience watching the stars in a field), and will receive further performances at Aberystwyth Storytelling Festival in September 2022.
A number of her works engage with nature – ‘Blossoms in bloom are also falling blossoms’ (string quartet, 2017), ‘Sunflowers in Autumn’ (chamber ensemble, 2019) and ‘Apart we are not alone’ (solo stringed instrument, 2020) reflect on patterns, memory and birdsong, whilst ‘we watch it burn’ (chamber ensemble and electronics, 2020) and ‘Weathering’ (solo viola, 2020) explore the impact of climate change.

A quick listen to ‘I have observed the most distant planet to have a triple form

Sarah’s I have observed the most distant planet to have a triple form, which range from the explosive, to the remote, to the utmost pointillism, is a work written for two pianos and was recorded and written specially for the Cobalt Duo in 2016. 

Sarah is currently Composer Affiliate with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales; the youngest, and the first ever woman, to hold such a residency with the orchestra. She is also currently one of three UK-based composers awarded a fellowship by the PRS for Music Foundation to represent young outstanding British talent at the Classical:NEXT conference in Spring 2022, and a Royal Philharmonic Society Composer 2021-22 working with the Chorus of the Royal Northern Sinfonia.


Check out where Sarah will be soon

24 April 2022, 3pm

‘Until the thread breaks’
Aberystwyth Music Club concert: Mary Hofman & Richard Ormrod
Great Hall, Aberystwyth
2-4 September 2022
‘Stars and their Consolations’ [2021]
at the Aberystwyth Storytelling Festival
Daniel Morden, Hugh Lupton & Sarah Lianne Lewis

20 May 2022, 7:30pm

‘we watch it burn’
UPROAR Ensemble: Professor Bad Trip
Galeri Caernarfon

Want to find out more about Sarah?

Sarah’s work can be accessed on her website or at one of these social media and streaming platforms:

Need a spotlight?

Sbotolau is new series of digital introductions to music creators in Aberystwyth and wider Ceredigion, hosted by MusicFest Aberystwyth. If you are a local music creator or music group and would like a spotlight shone on your work, please do get in touch.