Sarah J. Coles

Sarah Coles

Sarah J. Coles



Sarah J. Coles is a Cambridge-based composer, saxophonist, and teacher. She grew up in Pembroke, Ontario. At Wilfrid Laurier University, Sarah studied composition with Boyd MacDonald, Peter Hatch, and Glenn Buhr.  She later continued her studies in Brandon, Manitoba with Pat Carrabre. Composition was slow for a number of years while Sarah raised three children, and she still considers her career to be at the ‘emerging’ state. She holds a Bachelor of Music in composition from Wilfrid Laurier University, a Bachelor of Education from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Music from Western University.

Sarah is a music teacher with the Waterloo Region District School Board, where she likes to encourage students to find their own compositional voices, and leads bands and choirs. Sarah created a program for teaching the fife in school, and publishes through her own company, Choral Seas Press. She has presented workshops on the program for OMEA and NSMEA. She is also a writer who promises every year that THIS will be the year she finally declares the novel finished and releases it.

Sarah’s latest creative endeavour is landscape oil painting. She is interested in combining visual art with music through installation projects. Her music is often influenced by natural phenomena; landscapes, storms, bodies of water, and emotional journeys.


Satellites, 2017
Saxophone quartet SATB. Based on the idea of satellites in space communicating through their sounds.

Cycles, 2016
Grade 3 level concert band piece with a lively main theme, and contrasting slow theme. Performed as part of the CMC/OBA Score Reading Session, London, March 2016.

The Jewel of Wilmot, 2010
SA choral setting for young choir depicting the history of the Castle Kilbride.

I, Sea, 2010
SATB choral work depicting the composer’s desire to be near the ocean.  ‘I’ is the only word in the piece, the rest of the vocalizations being ocean sounds.

A Lullaby, 2001/2007
SATB choral setting of the text by James Agee.  Premiered in 2008 by the University of Waterloo Chamber Choir.

Fire, 2004
A challenging piano solo.

Dreamscape, 2003
Flute choir work for 2 picc, 5 flute, alto, and bass flutes.  Features simple parts for beginning flutists with an overall dreamlike, minimalist effect.

Essence, 2000
Work for flute and piano in 5/4 time that cycles through the keys.

Heritage March, 1999
Quick march for band with fairly simple parts, especially for percussion.

St. Barbara March, 1999
Slow march for band named after the patron saint of the artillery.

Prairie Summer Nights, 1997
Saxophone quartet SATB depicting a thunderstorm crossing the hot prairie on a summer evening, with light rain and flashes of lightning.  Delightful weather to experience!  The music aims to recount the mood and feelings of this event. Premiered at the “Night of 1000 Saxophones” in May 1998 at Central Washington University.  Also published through Dorn Publications.

Arrival, 1994
Orchestral work that recounts the emotional journey of giving birth.  Approximately six minutes long.