Brass star to take up new position at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire


French horn star Sarah Willis has been announced as the first International Chair of Brass at Birmingham City University’s Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.

As well as being a member of the world-renowned Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra – the first female to join the brass section – and an international soloist and chamber musician, Willis is passionately committed to music education and making a love of classical music accessible to all.

Royal Birmingham Conservatoire

Birmingham City University

The horn player also presents the TV programme ‘Sarah´s Music’ for Deutsche Welle and her live-streamed ‘Horn Hangouts’ have been viewed by countless people across the world, reaching people who may not have easy access to live concerts or teachers.

Education and communication

On joining Royal Birmingham Conservatoire as International Chair of Brass, Sarah Willis said:

“I am thrilled to have been asked to be the new International Chair of Brass at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.

Sarah Willis was born in Maryland, United States and grew up in Tokyo, Boston and Moscow, before settling in London. She started playing the French horn at age 14 and later joined the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where she studied with Anthony Halstead and Jeff Bryant. Later moving to Berlin, she studied with Fergus McWilliam.

Amos Miller, Head of Brass, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, said:

“I am so excited that Sarah Willis has agreed to be our International Chair of Brass. She is one of the most dynamic and forward-thinking musicians on the planet, who has a truly special and inclusive gift at communicating the joy that is music!”

High profile appointments

Royal Birmingham Conservatoire is further strengthening its position as a leader in brass education with four additional high profile appointments this year.

Joining the faculty alongside Sarah Willis will be Visiting Artists Peter Moore (trombone, former BBC Young Musician winner and Co-principal Trombone of the London Symphony Orchestra) Simon Höfele (trumpet, BBC New Generation Artist) John Ryan (Principal Horn of the London Philharmonic Orchestra) and Oren Marshall (international tuba virtuoso). Each will visit Royal Birmingham Conservatoire six times per year to educate and inspire the next generation of great brass performers.

Sarah Willis will take up her position as International Chair of Brass with the Brass Department at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire from next year.

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