Pianist Sarah Beth Briggs, “an artist of extraordinary magnetism” (Daily Telegraph), demonstrated her musical gifts from a very early age. At eleven she made history by becoming the youngest ever finalist in the BBC Young Musician of the Year competition and within a year had made her Fairfield Hall concerto debut. She rose to international attention at fifteen as the joint winner of the International Mozart Competition in Salzburg. Major engagements followed at home and abroad and in 1991 she made her US concerto debut at the San Francisco Midsummer Mozart Festival (a festival to which she has regularly returned).
Subsequently her solo career has taken her to Germany, Switzerland, Austria, France, Italy and the USA, as well as to many leading venues and to music clubs and festivals throughout the UK. She also gave the world premiere performance of newly discovered pieces by Benjamin Britten at the Chester Festival and has made numerous international radio and television recordings.
Briggs has regularly featured as a concerto soloist at London’s South Bank auditoria and Barbican Centre and the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester, as well as many other prestigious provincial venues. The orchestras she has played with include the Hallé, London Mozart Players, London Philharmonic, English Chamber Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Ulster Orchestra, Manchester Camerata, Royal I.iverpool Philharmonic, BBC Concert Orchestra and Northern Sinfonia.
A Hindemith Scholarship in 1987 gave Briggs an opportunity to develop her chamber music skills under the tutelage of Bruno Giuranna at an international series of master classes in Switzerland. This aspect of her musical enthusiasm has been vigorously maintained alongside her solo career. A critically acclaimed chamber music series (sponsored by the Argyll Group) at the Royal Northern College of Music in 1993 led to further chamber music partnerships, including collaborations with the renowned clarinettist Janet Hilton and most recently with her newly formed Melzi Piano Trio , in which she has joined forces with the leader and the principal cellist of the Manchester Camerata.
A long-standing pupil of the late Denis Matthews, Briggs has also worked with Swiss pianist Edith Fischer, John Lill, Peter Donohoe and Radu Lupu.
Her careful pianism comes through as a confident mixture of such technical elements as crystalline touch, elegant phrasing, singing line, precise voicing, lightness and agility. But in expressive sentiment, she went considerably beyond these attributes.
— San Francisco Chronicle
T’he Andante’s tasteful expression was sublime in its near perfection.
— Yorkshire Post
Sarah Briggs played with an intelligence which had both style and a distinctive voice.
— Geoffrey Norris, The Daily Telegraph
… an exceptionally gifted musician
— Gerald Larner, The Guardian
Her ethereal touch was just perfect … another superb performancefrom an exciting talent.
— Croydon Advertiser
… destined for the heights, both as virtuoso and interpreter.
— Michael Kennedy, The Daily Telegraph
Briggs played with power, insight and commanding musicianship.
— Manchester Evening News
A complete player.
— Yorkshire Evening Press
She has Mozart completely at her fingertips, and took great care over all the dovetailing with the orchestral parts, as well as providing delightful embellishments at cadence points and wonderfully vigorous full-blown cadenzas.
— Manchester Evening News
I don’t think I’ve heard a performance [of Beethoven 4th piano concerto] as delicate and refined as this. Sarah Beth Briggs just commanded attention.
— The Irish News
Soloist Sarah Briggs gave a stunning performance, her virtuosity apparent in every stroke of the keyboard.
— The Musical Opinion