Sarah is a founding member and a violinist of the Madawaska String Quartet and Ensemble, established in 2001. She also became 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 Ibero Americano (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 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 and 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. She joined the College of Examiners in 2021.
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, Cowboy Junkies, Andrea Bocceli, Sarah Slean, Chilly Gonzales and Seal. She has also appeared in music videos of K-OS and Blue Rodeo.
Sarah was a collaborative pianist with the Rosedale Public School Choir, in addition to modeling and acting.
Sarah is a founding member of the Madawaska Quartet Ensemble, Elmwood String Trio, and principal violinist with CONTACT Contemporary Music.
Madawaska QuartetRead Bio
Founded in 2001 and hailed for their “astonishing talent” (Musicworks Magazine), the Madawaska Quartet performs pieces from the mainstream to performance art, and from the Baroque to the present-day as an international string quartet. In 2012 the MQ expanded to become the Madawaska Ensemble as a result of collaborations over several years with two pianists Leslie Kinton and Brett Kingsbury.
With a roster of collaborators as diverse as their repertoire, the Madawaska Quartet has appeared with artists such as Sopranos Adrianne Pieczonka and Measha Brueggergosman, pianist Jan Lisiecki, singer/songwriter Bob Wiseman, and dancer/choreographer Julia Aplin. They have performed in major international festivals as the Festival Iberoamericano in Puerto Rico, the Festival of the Sound, Guelph fest, the Elora Festival, 21C festival at Koerner Hall, and Ottawa Chamberfest.
The Madawaska Quartet has worked as chamber music faculty at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, and has given workshops for students and emerging composers at the University of Toronto, York University, the Composers’ Guild of Canada, and the Canadian Contemporary Music Workshop.
As champions of Canadian composers and their works, the MQ has premiered more than thirty new pieces. They have acted as ensemble-in-residence at Array New Music Centre, Music Gallery, and the University of Toronto Scarborough.
Their recordings include the Quartet’s debut cd Prefab, Images with guitarist Rob MacDonald, Impurity Chains by Bekah Simms, Premieres by Conrad Chow, and Time is how you spend your love by Paisley Jura. Premiere by Scott Good is in the works.
CONTAQT combines 21st Century classical/experimental music with the sensibilities of rock and jazz to form a hybrid chamber ensemble that defies genres. Praised by the Globe and Mail as “thought-provoking” and “highly entertaining”, and by the New York Times as “mesmerizing”, Contact has premiered works by emerging and established Canadian and international composers and has performed at venues and new music festivals around the world such as MassMOCA, MOMA (NYC), Huddersfield Music Festival (UK), MIT, EMPAC, and Columbia University.
The Elmwood TrioRead Bio
Brought together by friendship and a deep love of chamber music, The Elmwood Trio unites three accomplished musicians who have worked in the Toronto music scene for more than twenty years. Sarah Fraser Raff is a founding member of the Madawaska Quartet and lead violinist for Contact Contemporary Music. Jeewon Kim is a violinist of the Shaw Festival Orchestra and its resident Blue Spruce Quartet. He is guest violinist for the Madawaska Quartet and was a founding member and violist of the former Galliano String Quartet. Mary-Katherine Finch is principal cellist of Mississauga Symphony, lead cellist for Contact, guest artist for the Madawaska Quartet, and a member of LUSH cello quartet. The Elmwood Trio made their recital debut in 2018 at the Guelph Connections Concert Series and Chamber Music Mississauga’s Out and About series. Since then, the trio have been expanding their repertoire and the audience throughout Ontario for this unique combination of instruments.
As sought after chamber musician for over twenty years, Sarah performs frequently in Ontario and abroad. Follow Sarah Fraser Raff on Facebook for updates.
Sarah is a model represented by Next Models Canada since 2013.
Sarah was introduced to modeling by being scouted, and realised her training and experience as a professional violinist and a teacher is an immense help to land work of primary roles from major corporations and organizations.
Jennifer Fukushima Fall Winter 2015 Look book
Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare
Genesis automobile (Hyundai)
The Royal Conservatory of Music
Toronto Blue Jays
Shoppers’ Drug Mart
Reliance Home Comfort
Aegli Premium Organics
Paul Raff Studio
Cadillac Fairview Mall
Oscar Peterson School
Sarah is a violin chamber coach, an examiner and teacher.
In addition to her teaching at the Royal Conservatory School, Sarah coaches chamber music at The Phil and Eli Taylor Performance Academy for Young Artists. She was also artist-in-residence at University of Toronto’s Scarborough Campus teaching chamber music, and artist-in-residence for composers at Music Gallery and Array New Music Centre, and has taught at Wilfrid Laurier University. She is a member of the College of Examiners. Limited online private lessons are available.