Sarah Grunstein is an Australian pianist of international acclaim, praised by The New York Times for her “penetrating musical intelligence”. She has performed in the United States, Europe, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and her homeland. Critics have described her performances as “tempestuous”, “enraptured”, “mesmerised”, “imbued with a luminous calm”, “each note like a tiny pearl”, “splendid in tone and execution”, “introspective and poetic”, “profoundly sensitive”, “a poetic trance”, and “playing with a spontaneity and abandon that stemmed from her technical mastery”. The American Record Guide likened her New York performance to those of Dame Myra Hess and Harold Samuel — pianists of the early 20th century, held in the highest esteem.
While her performance repertoire spans from the eighteenth century through to contemporary Australian, American and European works, it is her Bach interpretations that have particularly earned her distinguished accolades. Early in her career, in celebration of the Bach Tercentenary, Sarah Grunstein performed Bach’s complete Well-Tempered Clavier in London’s Purcell Room, New York’s Merkin Concert Hall, and the Sydney Opera House. Her all-Bach recital in London led to an invitation to perform at Kensington Palace before His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales. More recently her performance of Bach’s Goldberg Variations led to her being acclaimed as the “shining light” among the Bach pianists of the last 50 years.
Raised in Sydney by her immigrant parents who were both Holocaust survivors, her mother and father filled their home with art and music – in juxtaposition to the atrocities they had survived in Dachau and Auschwitz. Inspired by the music she had already grown to love, Sarah Grunstein was just 3 years old when she asked her parents for piano lessons. As a child she sought lessons in four-part harmony at her first school, Kambala, and later attended the Sydney Conservatorium High School, chartering the path for her international career.
After winning the Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Award for Young Australians, and recording the music for Bruce Beresford’s Australian film “The Getting of Wisdom”, Sarah Grunstein moved to New York to train at the world-leading performing arts institution, The Juilliard School, where she completed the Bachelor and Master of Music Degrees. Following graduation, she was awarded the honour of a four-year Teaching Fellowship at Juilliard. She earned the Doctor of Musical Arts at The Graduate Center of the City University of New York.
As a sought-after educator inspired by historical performance interpretations, Sarah Grunstein has presented master-classes and seminars on modern and historic pianos in the USA, the UK, Norway, New Zealand, and at universities in Australia. In recent years, her inspiration for connecting and communicating with her audience has stretched beyond concert halls and music schools: Sarah Grunstein has presented online soirée performances, and conversations about music from her home in New York to audiences around the world during the pandemic. She also performs for elderly residents in nursing homes in New York City and Sydney, has performed for the Holocaust survivor communities in both cities, and has mentored young Australian artists.
A Steinway Artist, Sarah Grunstein’s musical career has taken her around the globe, performing on international stages from London’s Southbank Centre to Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall to the Sydney Opera House. This year she will return to the Australian icon of performing arts to perform two solo recitals, relishing the opportunity to again share her musical journey with her beloved Australian audiences at the Sydney Opera House.