Sarah Alexander: My Musical Journey

When you tell people you play accordion they’re all like – “Oh, so you’re in a Ceilidh band?” – so they’re quite taken aback when you tell them it’s classical.

Challenging genre stereotypes is no easy feat, but classical accordionist Sarah Alexander is on a musical mission to do just this. When, as a child, she first saw an accordion

Sarah remembers thinking it was “different and strange;” both things that appealed to her. Sarah grew up in Buckie, North East Scotland, where accordion is a popular folk instrument; how ever Sarah remembers “completely falling in love with the classical side of it.” This passion eventually took her to the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, where she was one of just three classical accordionists on the undergraduate programme. When working on her final-year performance programme she came across a piece for accordion and double bass, but with no bass player available Sarah transcribed the work for her friend to play on cello. This experimental duo worked so well that they decided to form a professional partnership and Sarah has set about transcribing an array of works for these two instruments, including Saint-Saëns’ “Carnival of the Animals.”

Sarah hopes to inspire the next generation of young accordionists through her performance work and as an accordion teacher. As she says, “There’s nothing better than being able to introduce someone to the power of music.”

Part of our 20th anniversary project: My Musical Journey

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