Dr. Sarah Balzer is a freelance oboist, teacher, and reed maker in the Baltimore area.
An active freelancer, Sarah performs with orchestras across the mid Atlantic and midwest regions. She has appeared with the National Philharmonic, Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, Elmhurst Symphony, Kalamazoo Symphony, Quad City Symphony, and York Symphony among others. In 2021 she performed with the Annapolis Opera as principal oboist in their production of Handel’s Acis and Galatea. In 2022 she performed with the Washington Concert Opera on oboe and English horn in their performance of Delibe’s Lakmé.
Sarah has participated in summer festivals including the Banff Center, Domaine Forget Academy, and YOA Orchestra of the Americas. A graduate of the YOA Global Leaders program, she has taught and performed in venues across Chile, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Jamaica, and Mexico.
A dedicated teacher, Sarah maintains an active private teaching studio offering lessons both in home and online. She has taught reed making classes and technique classes to the oboe studio at University of Maryland. Passionately involved in youth orchestras, Sarah has taught at the DC Youth Orchestra Program and the People's Music School in Chicago. Sarah offers professional quality handmade reeds, cane, and reed making lessons through her company Birdsong Reeds. More information can be found at birdsongreeds.com.
Dr. Balzer holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Maryland where she studied with Mark Hill (National Philharmonic). She received her Master of Music at DePaul University studying with Eugene Izotov (San Francisco Symphony formerly Chicago Symphony) and playing with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. She earned her Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Maryland where her dissertation explored modern works for oboe quartet (oboe, violin, viola, cello). She has additionally studied with Naomi Bensdorf-Frisch, John Dee, Jelena Dirks, Grace Hong, Gordon Hunt, and Richard Killmer among others.