Sarah Willis

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About Sarah Willis

When British American horn player Sarah Willis joined the Berlin Philharmonic in 2001, she became the first woman to play in the elite orchestra’s brass section. Willis is as versatile and multifaceted as the French horn itself, participating in education projects, interviewing conductors and soloists for the philharmonic's Digital Concert Hall, and mentoring the members of the YouTube Symphony Orchestra. She infuses the role of the orchestral player with charisma and travels the world to absorb and mix with different cultures. Born in 1968 in Maryland, Willis lived in Tokyo and Moscow before moving to England at age 13. The following year she picked up the horn and attended London’s Royal College of Music, later studying at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Once settled in Berlin, she was appointed second horn in the Berlin State Opera. Willis’ visits to Cuba resulted in Mozart y Mambo, a 2020 album with the Havana Lyceum Orchestra that finds common ground between Mozart and traditional Cuban music. She became a Member of the Order of the British Empire in 2021.

Bethesda, MD, United States
February 23, 1968
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