What is Beyond the Notes?


Sarah Whitney, Founder & Artistic Director

Sarah Whitney, Founder & Artistic Director

Greeting guests after BTN 2015

Greeting guests after BTN 2015

This is not your average concert.

Beyond the Notes is a unique and interactive concert experience that gives the audience a chance to get to know the performers beyond what can be read in their bios.

In addition to presenting some of today’s most sought after musicians, Beyond the Notes invites audience members to participate in the concert by submitting written questions. Questions are selected randomly and answered live on stage by the performers throughout the concert. 

Violinist Sarah Whitney, founder and Artistic Director, believes that too often there is a barrier between the audience and the performers when the audience knows little about the musicians they are watching. The mission of Beyond the Notes is to change the concert experience because getting to know the musicians on stage can significantly change the listening experience.  

Beyond the Notes was founded 5 years ago and presents its flagship concert in the Boston-area annually, introducing a new guest artist or artists every year. Beyond the Notes also partners with organizations around the US to bring this unique concert experience to other communities to reach as many people as possible. 

A lot of exciting new things are in the works for Beyond the Notes. Our next event will be a summer pop up house concert on August 8th in Cheney, WA! Please sign up for our newsletter to stay updated on concert announcements and news!            

 photo credit Alex Fedorov


Sarah Whitney


*photo by Helene MaCauley ----  www.sarahwhitney.com

*photo by Helene MaCauley ---- www.sarahwhitney.com

Praised by the Washington Post for her “marvelous violin acrobatics”, violinist Sarah Whitney is known for her musical versatility and has been heard worldwide across stages in Europe, Asia, South America, Africa and the United States. She is recognized as a performer, teacher, entrepreneur and advocate for bringing fresh new ideas to classical music.

Based in New York City, she is a member of the acclaimed string quintet SYBARITE5, one of the fastest-rising chamber-music ensembles in the United States. SYBARITE5 is the first string quintet to win the Concert Artists Guild Victor Elmaleh Competition, giving their Carnegie Hall debut in 2012. SYBARITE5, whose album ‘Disturb the Silence’ reached the top ten on the Billboard Charts, has also performed at Lincoln Center, Alice Tully Hall, the Library of Congress, the Aspen, Caramoor, Chautauqua and Ravinia Festivals, and on the CBS Early Show. Additionally, SYBARITE5 premiered the world’s first concerto for string quintet and orchestra by Dan Visconti with three orchestras last season.


Sarah is recognized as a pioneer in changing the perception of classical music and the way it is presented; in 2015 she founded Beyond the Notes, an innovative concert series that breaks down the boundaries between the audience and the performers. Sarah also performs regularly in the Seeing Double Duo with acclaimed violinist Julia Salerno, having been featured on the Rochester Chamber Music Society, New York City House Concerts and the First Parish Concert Series. Sarah is co-founder of the Jingle Punks Hipster Orchestra that has been featured on Mashable, Perez Hilton, Revolt TV, as well as with the rapper NAS in Johannesburg, South Africa. Additionally, Sarah has collaborated with the Alvin Ailey and Jose Limon dance companies, as well as featured on-stage with Adele, Ellie Goulding, the Transiberian Orchestra, Jeff Beck, Anne Murray, Andrew Wyatt, Tommy Lee, and with Father John Misty on The Late Show with Dave Letterman. 

Active as a recording artist, Sarah has performed on albums with Darlene Love, Josh Ritter, Stephen Kellogg, Mark Geary and Etienne Charles and can be heard on William Bolcom's Grammy-winning album ‘The Songs of Innocence and Experience’. She has performed electric-violin with renowned DJ’s Doug E. Fresh and DJ Spooky, as well as opening for Jennifer Hudson and Diana Ross.

Sarah has extensive teaching experience and regularly gives master classes and workshops to students of all levels. She has given guest master classes at University of Arizona, Grinnell College, Ohio University, University of North Florida, the Walnut Hill School, the Boston University Tanglewood Institute, among others, and has been guest artist in residence at Eastern Washington University. She is currently a Music Coach for Lincoln Center Stage and a teaching artist for the Bridge Arts Ensemble. She has served on faculty at Music in Chappaqua, The Music School of New York City and the Walla Walla Suzuki Institute. Her Suzuki training was under the leadership of pedagogue Kimberly Meier-Sims and she was named co-director of the Sato Center Outreach Group at the Sato Center for Suzuki Studies in Cleveland, leading the group in concerts throughout the city. Her reputation and devotion to sound practice techniques led STRINGS magazine to feature Sarah in an article, ‘The Art of Mindful Practice’, in February 2015. She has also served on the New York State Presenters Network Panel in discussions about progressive programming and innovation.

Sarah holds a Bachelor’s degree with honors from the University of Michigan School of Music, as well as Master of Music and Professional Studies degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music. She has been a scholarship student at many music festivals including the Aspen Music Festival and School, the Music Academy of the West and the Meadowmount School of Music. Her teachers include Paul Kantor, William Preucil, Kathleen Winkler, Aaron Berofsky, Cyrus Forough, Stephen Shipps and Irina Muresanu.

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