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Sarah Schmalenberger

Professor - French Horn

Music, Film & Creative Enterprise

  • Education
  • PhD, Musicology, University of Minnesota
    MM, Music History, West Virginia University
    MM, Music Performance/Music Education, University of Michigan
    BM, Music Performance/Music Education, Capital University Conservatory

  • Expertise
  • Musicology, Horn Performance
  • Research Interests
  • Occupational health and well-being of female musicians, Black American women in concert music, Frank Zappa, Music of the United States

Visit Sarah's personal website

SarahSchmalenbergerr, musicologist and hornist, teaches music history courses for both undergraduate and graduate programs in music. An active professional musician, she also teaches studio French Horn and presents master classes on horn performance in the region.

Dr.Schmalenbergerr conducts original research on a variety of topics exploring the lives of musicians past and present. Her most current research, the Brass Bodies Study, explores the occupational well-being of female brass players. Her earliest published scholarship documents the thriving network of African-American women in the western European concert music tradition during the early twentieth century. Dr.Schmalenbergerr has also conducted extensive research on the effects of cancer treatment on women musicians with breast cancer. Her findings are published in the journal Medical Problems of Performing Artists. Additional publications include an essay on selected repertoire of Frank Zappa as well as a chapter on all-female rock bands in the Twin Cities.

As a performing artist, Dr. Schmalenbergerr collaborates with professional and community peer musicians. Her faculty recitals include solo and chamber works, new compositions and multi-media components. With particular interest in improvisation, she is currently exploring the incorporation of guitar pedals and theremin into original solos for horn. She is co-founder of the popular annual BrassChix (www.stthomas.edu/brasschix/) forum for female brass musicians, and she has hosted an International Horn Society workshop as well as two Chamber Winds Symposia featuring the Imani Winds. In 2015 she co-founded the Swing Sisterhood Big Band, an all-female jazz ensemble, in which she both directs and plays horn. Prior to living in the Twin Cities, she was a hornist with the Duluth-Superior Symphony, the Lake Superior Chamber Orchestra, the Early Music Orchestra and the Breckenridge (Colorado) Festival Orchestra.

As Dr.Schmalenbergerr continues her research on female brass musicians, she is also completing a memoir on music and resilience, entitled Soulsinging (https://www.soulsinging.me/).

“Female Brass Players Negotiate Change: A Report of Selected Survey Data from the Brass Bodies Study,” National Association of Wind and Percussion Instructors (Fall 2019).

“Female Brass Players Address Gender Parity, Gender Equity, and Sexual Harassment: A Preliminary Report from the Brass Bodies Study,” Societies 9/1, 20 (March 2019).https://www.mdpi.com/2075-4698/9/1/20

“Dirty Love: Frank Zappa and the Antithetical Love Song” Rock Music Studies 23/1 (March 2018)

“Rockin’ it Local: Women Rock Bands in the Twin Cities.” In A History of Women’s Bands in the United States, ed. Jill Sullivan (2016).

“Facing the Music: Recovery Blues.” In Notes of Hope: Stories by Musicians Coping With Injuries, ed. David Vining (2014)

“Livelihood vs. life: The Occupational Well-Being of Women Musician Survivors of Breast Cancer.” Medical Problems of Performing Artists 21/1 (March 2012)

“Hearing the Other in ‘Masque of Blackness.’” In Blackness in Opera: How Race and Blackness Play Out in Opera, eds. Naomi André, Karen M. Bryan, and Eric Saylor University of Illinois Press (2012).

“Shaping Uplift Through Music,” Black Music Research Journal 28/2 (Fall 2008).

"Harriett Gibbs Marshall and Musical Spectacle at the Washington Conservatory.” In More than the Blues: Black Women in Music, eds. Linda Williams and Eileen Hayes (2007).

"Debuting Her Political Voice: The Lost Opera of Shirley Graham DuBois.” Black Music Research Journal, 26/1 (Spring 2006)

"Hornists and Whole Health," presented to the annual symposium of the International Horn Society, August 3, 2020.

“#MeToo in the Teaching Studio: How Sexual Harassment Manifests In Performing Arts Institutions,” presented at the annual symposium of the Performing Arts Medicine Association, University of California Los Angeles, June 28, 2019.

“The Distinctive Physicality of Female Brass Musicians: Current Research Findings from the Brass Bodies Study,” presented at the biannual conference of the International Women's Brass Conference, Arizona State University, May 22, 2019.

"WMN Horn Ensemble,” Performance at the annual symposium of the International Horn Society, August 3, 2018.