Resident Composer

Sarah J. Coles



Sarah J. Coles (1967-) is a Canadian composer based in Cambridge, Ontario. At Wilfrid Laurier University, Sarah studied composition with Boyd MacDonald, Peter Hatch, and Glenn Buhr. She later continued her studies in Brandon, Manitoba with Pat Carrabre. Composition was slow for a number of years while Sarah raised three children, and she still considers her career to be at the ‘emerging’ stage. She holds a Bachelor of Music in composition from Wilfrid Laurier University, a Bachelor of Education from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Music from Western University. Sarah is also a multi-instrumentalist, teacher, artist, and writer. Her experience playing saxophone with big bands has brought a jazz influence into her composition, which she plans to expand on. Sarah’s creative endeavour of landscape oil painting has raised an interest in combining visual art with music through installation projects. Her music is often influenced by natural phenomena; landscapes, storms, bodies of water, and emotional journeys. Her compositions for choirs, bands, and chamber groups have been performed in the US, Canada, and England.

CCB Resident Composer Commissions

Canadian Treasures- To be premiered 29th October 2022 Concert by Cambridge Concert Band

Major Works

Scattered Flurries, 2019 Chamber music with a jazz influence, for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, and piano.

Rideau Rondo, 2019 Brass Quintet. Written for the Manotick Brass Quintet.

I Can’t Count the Tears, 2019  Soprano and clarinet. Text by the composer.

The Sky Remains the Same, 2019 SATBchoir. On the theme of resettlement, and home.

On Green Lake, 2018 
For concert band. Premiered at the University of Windsor, CMC score reading session.

The Old Castle, 2017
 A three movement work for young pianists.
Premiered at ACWC piano concert, Conrad Grebel Chapel, University of Waterloo.

Satellites, 2017 Saxophone quartet SATB. Based on the idea of satellites in space communicating through their sounds.

Cycles, 2016

 Grade 3 level concert band piece with a lively main theme, and contrasting slow theme. Performed as part of the CMC/OBA Score Reading Session, London, March 2016.

The Jewel of Wilmot, 2010 SA choral setting for young choir depicting the history of the Castle Kilbride.

I, Sea, 2010

 SATB choral work depicting the composer’s desire to be near the ocean. ‘I’ is the only word in the piece, the rest of the vocalizations being ocean sounds.

A Lullaby, 2001/2007 SATB choral setting of the text by James Agee. Premiered in 2008 by the University of Waterloo Chamber Choir.

Fire, 2004 A challenging piano solo.

Dreamscape, 2003 Flute choir work for 2 picc, 5 flute, alto, and bass flutes. Features simple parts for beginning flutists with an overall dreamlike, minimalist effect.

Essence, 2000 Work for flute and piano in 5/4 time that cycles through the keys.

Heritage March, 1999 Quick march for band with fairly simple parts, especially for percussion.

St. Barbara March, 1999 Slow march for band named after the patron saint of the artillery.

Prairie Summer Nights, 1997 Saxophone quartet SATB depicting a thunderstorm crossing the hot prairie on a summer evening, with light rain and flashes of lightning. Delightful weather to experience! The music aims to recount the mood and feelings of this event. Premiered at the “Night of 1000 Saxophones” in May 1998 at Central Washington University. Also published through Dorn Publications.

Arrival, 1994 Orchestral work that recounts the emotional journey of giving birth. Approximately six minutes long.