Sarah Rimkus

Sarah Rimkus


  • Visiting Assistant Teaching Professor of Music, Visual and Performing Arts
  • Instructor of Composition, Visual and Performing Arts
  • BM, Composition, University of Southern California
  • MM, University of Aberdeen
  • PhD, Music Composition, University of Aberdeen


Sarah Rimkus is an award-winning American composer of chamber, choral and vocal works. She brings a wide range of influences to her music, from ars antiqua and ars nova polyphony to Balkan and Scandinavian folk traditions and many other sources. Her work often explores issues such as communication, belonging, and relationship to the environment through use of contemporary themes and musical layering and contradiction. Her music has been described as “challenging yet attractive” and “always powerful and well-judged,” with a language that “ranges from uncluttered lyrical poignancy to denser textures that suggest a holy clamor.” Her works received approximately one hundred performances worldwide in 2019.

Her choral works have been widely commissioned and performed across the United States, the United Kingdom, and elsewhere by ensembles such as The Esoterics, C4 Ensemble and The Gesualdo Six. She has also written chamber works for performers including The Ligeti Quartet, Red Note Ensemble, soprano Jillian Bain Christie and many others. She has been published by GIA Publications, Walton Music, and See-a-dot Publications and has been internationally recognized through awards including as the ASCAP Morton Gould Award and the ASCAP Foundation Leonard Bernstein Award.

Dr. Rimkus recently completed her PhD and MM in music composition at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland with Phillip Cooke and Paul Mealor. She earned her BM in composition magna cum laude in 2013 at the University of Southern California, where she developed her love of working with text and the voice while studying with Morten Lauridsen and Stephen Hartke.

She was born in Washington, DC in 1990 and moved to Bainbridge Island, Washington in 1998. She has lived in the beautiful Upper Peninsula of Michigan since December 2018.

Links of Interest