Principal Conductor of Pops and Presentations
Sarah Hicks is the Minnesota Orchestra’s principal conductor of pops and presentations, a position in which her tenure extends to 2013. She was appointed to this post in October 2009, after serving for three seasons as the Orchestra’s assistant conductor. In her new role she oversees planning of the Orchestra’s pops season and leads pops performances, while continuing to produce and conduct the Inside the Classics series, as well as leading holiday concerts and additional performances by the Orchestra.
During the Orchestra’s 2011-12 season Hicks will conduct pops shows with such artists as Ben Folds, Rosanne Cash, Time for Three, Celtic Woman, Jim Brickman, Brian Stokes Mitchell and Sweet Honey in the Rock. She also leads a tribute to the music of the Carpenters, a “Ballroom with a Twist” dance-themed concert, a program of French music, and a screening of the classic film Bride of Frankenstein with Franz Waxman’s score performed live. In December 2008 she helped introduce a new Minnesota Orchestra holiday offering, arranging music for and conducting “A Scandinavian Christmas” concerts, which are offered again in December 2011. She made her subscription debut with the Orchestra in October 2008 and returned to that line-up in November 2009, leading fully staged performances of Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel.
Hicks has garnered national and international acclaim: she has guest conducted both in the U.S. and abroad, leading such ensembles as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, National Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Prime Philharmonic of Korea, Delaware Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia and South Carolina Philharmonic.
During the summer of 2011 Hicks acted as conductor for Sting’s Symphonicities Tour, leading 31 concerts over two months in venues throughout Europe. She has completed a recording project with the Vermont Symphony with violinist Jaime Laredo and cellist Sharon Robinson, and she has also conducted performances of the East Slovak State Opera and Curtis Opera Studio. Her engagements for the 2011-12 season include appearances with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and return engagements with the Florida Symphony Orchestra.
In September 2009 Hicks was appointed associate conductor of the North Carolina Symphony. She was previously associate conductor of the Richmond Symphony, resident conductor of the Florida Philharmonic and assistant conductor of the Reading Symphony Orchestra and the Philadelphia Singers (the chorus of the Philadelphia Orchestra), which she has led in radio broadcasts heard on National Public Radio.
Born in Tokyo and raised in Honolulu, Hicks received a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University as a composition major; her AIDS Oratorio was premiered there in May 1993 and received a second performance at Harvard’s Fogg Art Museum. She holds an artist’s diploma in conducting from the Curtis Institute of Music, where she studied with renowned pedagogue Otto-Werner Mueller. After graduation, she maintained her association with Curtis as a faculty member from 2000 to 2005. She currently continues her affiliation as staff conductor.
Hicks is the first woman to hold a titled conductor post in the Minnesota Orchestra’s history. With Inside the Classics co-host Sam Bergman, she is co-author of a blog on the Orchestra’s website.