“music is not in the notes, but in the silence between.”
— Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Dr. Sarah Roberts is Assistant Professor of Saxophone and Jazz Studies at The University of Texas at Tyler. With an extremely diverse background in classical, jazz, and popular music; Dr. Roberts has performed with a gamut of ensembles ranging from traditional saxophone quartets, to new music groups, to rock bands, to jazz groups and all points in between. In the East Texas area, Dr. Roberts frequently performs with her self-titled jazz quartet (Sarah Roberts Quartet) and other local jazz ensembles including The Jazz Connection. In February 2017, she formed a classical trio titled Essimar, that is dedicated to promoting new music with unusual instrumentation. In addition, she has been a saxophonist for various orchestras including the Plano Symphony, Irving Symphony, and San Angelo Symphony; has been a substitute saxophonist with the Dallas Wind Symphony, the Lonestar Wind Orchestra, and Allen Philharmonic Winds; and is a member of Kris Berg’s Metroplexity Big Band. Through her performances with the Metroplexity Big Band she has shared the stage with such musicians as Phil Woods, Tom Bones Malone, Wayne Bergeron, Kirk Whalum, Chris Vadala, and Clay Jenkins to name a few. Dr. Roberts has also performed for such acts as The O’Jays, Johnny Mathis, and The Temptations. Furthermore, she has presented recitals and lectures throughout the United States including presentations at discipline specific conventions for such organizations as the North American Saxophone Alliance and the Jazz Education Network.
A native of Fort Madison, Iowa, Dr. Roberts made her soloist debut at the age of seventeen with the Southeast Iowa Symphony performing Henri Tomasi’s Concerto for saxophone and orchestra. The following year she was a featured soloist with the Des Moines Symphony in Des Moines, Iowa; and the World Youth Symphony Orchestra at the Interlochen Center for the Arts in Interlochen, Michigan. In 2008, Dr. Roberts made her European debut when she was invited to perform with the Juilliard School’s AXIOM Ensemble on their Beyond the Machine 7.0 – The Eye/Ear Collaboration concert at the Tanhalle in Zurch, Switzerland. During the summer of 2010, Dr. Roberts traveled with a student group from the University of North Texas to Shanghai, China, and performed with the East China Normal University Orchestra, in addition to presenting master classes and performances with the UNT jazz combo throughout Shanghai. She returned to China during November 2017 to present lectures, masterclasses, and perform at Harbin University.
In January 2018, Dr. Roberts was the featured guest artist for Linn-Mar High School’s Java and Jazz annual event in Marion, Iowa. She has also been the guest artist with the Southeastern Oklahoma State University’s jazz band for their annual jazz festival in 2012; and in 2014 she was the Artist-in-Residence with the Southeast Iowa Symphony. In February 2017, Dr. Roberts was the featured soloist with the Mineola Middle School Band for their TMEA Honor Band Performance where she premiered a work specifically commissioned for the event. In April 2017, she was the featured soloist for the Canton High school Band’s annual gala. In addition, as a member of the Dallas-based Metroplexity Big Band and can be heard on their two albums Time Management and This Time/Last Year. Dr. Roberts can also be heard on
the University of North Texas Two O’Clock album, Too Two, several North Texas Wind Ensemble recordings, and Tom Walker’s Gospel Train Big Band album.
As an adjudicator, Dr. Roberts is frequently a judge for various festivals and competitions such as the Frisco Jazz Festival and the Collin College Jazz Festival in addition to other festivals throughout the state of Texas. Furthermore, Dr. Roberts has been the regional clinician for numerous TMEA and ATSSB all-region jazz festivals throughout Texas and has been the conductor of the TISD all-city band festival. She is also on the faculty of the Texas All-Star Jazz Camp a summer camp held at Collin College and serves as the band conductor for the Green Acres Middle School Band Camp; and in the summer of 2018 she started first-ever The University of Texas at Tyler Jazz Camp and received a JAZZ2U grant from the Jazz Education Network.
As a supporter of new music, Dr. Roberts has been instrumental in promoting the ever-growing repertoire featuring saxophone. In addition to commissioning a new concert for Alto Saxophone and Middle Band titled The Pursuit by Micah Bell, she has also been actively involved in the development of new music for the Essimar trio. In addition, she has been involved in three commissioning consortiums. The first featuring supporting the commission Behemoth by Roshanne Etezady for baritone saxophone and percussion. The second and third commissioning consortiums are currently underway by composers Chris Hass and Haley Woodrow.
Since 2015, Dr. Roberts has been a member of the East Texas Youth Orchestra board serving first as the University Liaison, then as the Secretary and Vice-President of the organization. In Fall 2017, Dr. Roberts created and implemented the ETYO’s first-ever Jazz Academy providing youth in East Texas the opportunity to study and perform America’s music, jazz. In addition, Dr. Roberts serves as the TMEA College Representative for Region 21 and was the President of the Texas Jazz Educators Association during the 2017-18 academic year. Currently, she is a member of the TJEA Board as a Director.
Dr. Roberts completed her doctorate of musical arts degree in saxophone performance from the University of North Texas in August 2015. She also holds dual master of music degrees in saxophone performance and jazz studies from the University of North Texas and dual undergraduate degrees in saxophone performance and jazz studies from the University of Michigan. Her primary saxophone teachers include Donald Sinta, Donald Walden, Eric Nestler, and Jim Riggs.
Dr. Roberts is a Selmer Paris Performing Artist and a Vandoren Regional Artist and performs exclusively on Selmer and Vandoren products.