Sarah Hughes is an alto saxophonist, doubling on flute and clarinet, from Pasadena, Maryland. She is also a composer of ensemble music as well as electronic music for solo artist. Sarah has been a music educator for over 10 years, but she considers herself first and foremost a free improviser, creating within, on top of, and despite many genre frameworks including jazz, experimental composition and noise, swing, blues, folk, rap and hip-hop, and rock. Sarah prefers to emote onstage in the most expressive way possible and readily available.
Sarah received a bachelor’s degree in music education from the University of Maryland in 2008 where she studied with the brilliant classical saxophonist, Dale Underwood. She taught elementary band and strings programs in Prince George’s County for five years before leaving the DMV to earn a master’s degree in jazz saxophone performance from the New England Conservatory in Boston. She studied there with Jerry Bergonzi, Ran Blake, Anthony Coleman, and Donny McCaslin. From that experience Sarah acquired an expanded vocabulary for improvising on her saxophone and met many young artists who influenced her personhood profoundly.
After graduating, Sarah recorded with Anthony Coleman on his latest album "You" and performed with his ensembles at The Stone and Roulette in New York City. Also in 2015, Sarah toured in Sweden with Amy K Bormet’s "Ephemera" as a part of Sweden's first women in jazz festival. Sarah toured with her own improvising trio, "Lead Bubbles" in 2016, playing in Toronto and Montreal. She currently serves as adjunct faculty at Towson University where she teaches private saxophone lessons as well as jazz ensembles. She performs solo and in various spontaneous configurations in Baltimore, Washington DC, New York City, Chicago, and other localities. In March of 2018 she release her first album Coy Fish, an avant-garde free improvisation album colored by free jazz.
During her time as a musician Sarah has had the great fortune of sharing the stage with superb improvisors and composers including Lee Konitz, Ted Brown, Mary Halvorson, Fay Victor, Allison Miller, Joe Morris, William Parker, Hamid Drake, Daniel Carter, Michael Formanek, Matt Wilson, Dan Tepfer, George Garzone, Anthony Coleman, Ben Schwendener, Freddie Redd, and Teddy Charles. She performs locally at DC/Baltimore venues on a semi-regular basis, including Rhizome, The Red Room, An Die Musik, Twins Jazz, The Goethe Institute, Kogod Courtyard at The National Portrait Gallery, The Hill Center, The Kennedy Center, and The Baltimore Museum of Art.