As a pianist, music educator, and arts administrator, Sarah Gao has extensive experience performing, teaching, and managing arts programs. She has earned critical acclaim as a solo pianist, and chamber musician, as well as an orchestral pianist. Gao was a top prize winner in numerous national and international piano competitions and also has been invited to WUSF Live Radio for interviews and performances as their young resident artist. She has gained recognition from the media and music critics for her performance. In the Murcia Regional News, they described her Schubert performance as "unforgettable" and praised her rendition of Schubert's "The Wanderer" as "exquisite" and "magnificent".
In recent years, Gao has actively performed recitals and chamber music concerts throughout the U.S., Europe, and Asia. She is in frequent demand as an orchestral pianist working with renowned conductors such as Ken-David Masur, Hugh Wolff, and Jeffrey Kahane. Her music festival performances include Artciál International Piano Competition and Festival, Rebecca Penneys Piano Festival, Amalfi Music & Arts Festival, and Beijing Internationally Music Festival.
Gao received her Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from the New England Conservatory of Music, where she studied with Gabriel Chodos and graduated with Dean's List honors. She also earned a Master of Music and Professional Studies Diploma in Piano Performance from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where she studied with Garrick Ohlsson and Yoshikazu Nagai. Currently, Gao is pursuing a highly sought-after Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Southern California, working with Jeffrey Kahane, with a minor in instrumental conducting, Music Teaching and learning, and arts leadership.
In addition to her extensive academic background, Gao has demonstrated leadership potential in the music industry. With experience in music education, Gao worked as a Student Assistant/Coordinator for the Rebecca Penneys Piano Festival in Tampa, FL, and as a Piano Department Assistant at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Currently, she is the President of Artciál Music Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, and the Executive Director of Artciál International Piano Competition and Festival, where she creatively leads the festival.
Gao is also an active piano teacher with experience teaching over 10 years. Many of her students received local piano competitions awards, were selected by young artist music festivals, and were admitted to the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and Manhattan Conservatory of Music. Her students are top prize winners of national and international competitions including the US New Star International Piano Competition, Golden Classical Piano Competition, America Protégé Piano Competition, and US Open Music Competition. Throughout her career, she has demonstrated a passion for music education and the arts, inspiring students and fellow musicians to reach their full potential.