Sarah Fraser Raff

Sarah Fraser Raff is a violinist of the JUNO-nominated Cryptid Ensemble (Best Classical Album of the Year) and a founding member of the Madawaska String Quartet and Ensemble, established in 2001. She also became the principal violinist of CONTACT Contemporary Music in 2002 and founded the Elmwood String Trio in 2018. Her groups have collaborated with sopranos Adrianne Pieczonka and Measha Brueggergosman, Quatuor Bozzini, clarinetist James Campbell, and pianist Jan Lisiecki and has appeared in Festival of the Sound, Guelph Music Fest, Elora Festival, Toronto International Chamber Music Festival, Open Ears Festival, Ottawa Chamberfest, Toronto Symphony’s New Creations, K-W Chamber Music Society, and 21C at Koerner Hall. Her international appearances include Festival IberoAmericano (Puerto Rico), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Huddersfield New Music Festival (UK), Bang on a Can (New York), Museum of Modern Art, Experimental Media and Performing Arts Centre (EMPAC), Massachusetts Museum of Modern Art (MassMoCA) LOUD weekend, and Ecstatic Music Festival at Columbia University (New York), and has collaborated in numerous recordings including the Juno-winning classical composition of the year Bestiary I & II by Bekah Simms and soundtrack for a film by Atom Egoyan. 

Madawaska Quartet has premiered over 30 works and presented workshops for composers at University of Toronto, York University, Music Gallery, Array New Music Centre, Canadian Music Centre, Canadian Contemporary Music Workshop, and Guild of Canadian Film Composers. 

Sarah received her formative musical training in Japan. Studying under the founding member of the internationally acclaimed Tokyo String Quartet Koichiro Harada, she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Music Performance from the prestigious Toho Gakuen Music School in Tokyo. She moved to Toronto to continue her studies with the late Lorand Fenyves. She went on to attain a Master of Music in Performance from University of Toronto and an Artist Diploma from the Glenn Gould School of the Royal Conservatory. Upon graduation, Sarah joined the Royal Conservatory violin faculty. Her students have been accepted into Interlochen Centre for the Arts Summer Music Program (U.S.), Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra, University of Toronto Music Performance, Wilfrid Laurier University, York University. Her students also participate in all levels of the Royal Conservatory Certificate Program, successfully completing examinations, including gold and silver medal winners. Sarah also coaches chamber music at The Phil and Eli Taylor Performance Academy for Young Artists and was a chamber coach for University of Toronto Scarborough, Kinkardine and Port Milford summer schools. 

 As a freelancer, she has performed with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Canadian Opera Company, National Ballet of Canada, Tapestry New Opera, Arraymusic, Soundstreams Canada, Esprit Orchestra, and various stage musical productions. She has shared the stage with Jay-Z, Mary J Blige, Rod Stewart, Sarah Slean, and Seal. She has also appeared in music videos for K-OS and Blue Rodeo.