Dr Sarah K Watts

Department of Music

Senior University Teacher in Performance

UK Representative for the International and European Clarinet Associations

Director of Performance, Music

Director of MA in Music Performance Studies, Music

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Full contact details

Dr Sarah K Watts
Department of Music
Jessop Building
Leavygreave Road
S3 7RD

I studied clarinet at the Royal Academy of Music, London, and bass clarinet at Rotterdam Conservatorium, Holland. My studies in Rotterdam where I won the Exxon prize for the best classical music student were funded by a Leverhulme Trust Studentship.

Successes include: Winner, UK Howarth Clarinet Competition 2000; Winner, Hawkes Clarinet Prize (RAM) 2001; Winner of wind section, UK Performing Australian Music competition, 2001; Finalist, Wind section, Royal Overseas League Competition 2000.

I specialise in low clarinets and have gained an International reputation as an artist, teacher and researcher on the instrument. I have performed around the UK, Ireland, Asia, Europe and the Americas and attracted composers including Sir Harrison Birtwistle, George Nicholson, Piers Hellawell and William Sweeney to write works for me.

I also teach bass clarinet at RNCM, Manchester. I music courses on the Isle of Raasay, Scotland and direct wind chamber courses in the UK and France. I have given masterclasses at universities and conservatoires around the world. I perform with several chamber music ensembles including Hard Rain SoloistEnsemble (Belfast), rarescale and SCAW.

My PhD researched bass clarinet multiphonics and I have published a leading resource on this subject.

I am Vandoren UK artist, Selmer Clarinet artist and a Silverstein Ligature artist.

Research interests

My current research looks at:

  • Developing new repertoire for the contrabass clarinet. Following my online publication of an extensive existing repertoire catalogue for the instrument, I am collaborating with composers on new works that will add valuable additions to the limited solo and chamber repertoire.
  • Researching and cataloguing multiphonics for contrabass clarinet. This is an extension of my research looking at bass clarinet multiphonic analysis.
  • Using extended techniques as a teaching aid and looking at how contemporary techniques are taught and the benefit they have to improving control and over all sound production and control of all clarinets.
  • How contemporary music is taught and made accessible to student clarinetists
Research group

I am currently supervising a PhD looking at composer-performer collaboration for contrabass clarinet.

Professional activities and memberships

I perform extensively in the UK and abroad. Recent performances have included performances at the 2017 International Clarinetfest in Orlando, Florida and 2018 International Clarinetfest in Ostend, Belgium. Upcoming performances include being a guest artist at the American Single Reed Summit at Trueman State University in October 2018, followed by concerts and masterclasses in Kansas and Alabama.

Reviews of 'The Princess and The Bear' CD