Sarah van der Ploeg Profile
BA with Honors, Princeton University
MMus with Distinction, Royal Academy of Music, London
MM, Bienen School of Music, Northwestern University
Sarah van der Ploeg is a lyric soprano hailing from the small town of North Haledon, New Jersey, nestled in the shadow of New York City. Growing up in an artistic household, she played piano, viola, violin, and sang in choirs from an early age, and her mother maintains that she sang before she spoke.
Praised for her expressivity, versatility, musicianship, and beauty of tone, Sarah has soloed in London, New York, Chicago, Vienna, around the UK and France, and in several smaller cities scattered throughout the US and Europe. A true "singing actor", she relishes in character creation, and the full development of a living, breathing persona in every piece performed. She also has particular interest in Twentieth Century and contemporary repertoire, and enjoys working with composers. This has led to intense development of a wide variety of styles, with repertoire ranging from opera to oratorio to art song, as well as jazz, musical theatre, folk and gospel music. As a vocal educator, she also seeks to instill a love of multiple genres in her students, and to help them build a flexible technique that will allow them to healthfully sing anything.
Favorite roles and performance experiences include: Stella/Muse in The Tales of Hoffmann (Opera Theater of Pittsburgh), Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus (Northwestern University), Erste Dame & Pamina in Die Zauberflöte (Northwestern University & study), Musetta in La Bohème (RAM Italian Opera Academy), The Governess in The Turn of the Screw (scenes and study), soloing with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for their annual Welcome Yule concerts, soloing with the All Souls Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall, a solo Wigmore Hall recital, workshopping the Contessa from Figaro with Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, and Master Classes with Robert Tear, Ricky Ian Gordon, and Susan Ashbaker. She also served as a worship leader and choir director at Willow Creek Chicago for 3 years, and recently began singing and working with the choir at Fourth Presbyterian Church in downtown Chicago.
Sarah completed a Masters degree in Voice & Opera at Northwestern University with Theresa Brancaccio, Alan Darling and Richard Boldrey. She previously received an MMus with Distinction from the Vocal Faculty of the Royal Academy of Music, London in 2010 under the tutelage of Diane Forlano and Mary Hill. A Marshall Scholar, Sarah is a graduate of Princeton University, where she studied arts policy alongside music performance. Passionate about the arts' role as catalysts for positive societal change, Sarah searches for ways in which music can bridge cultural boundaries, and seeks opportunities for advocacy and reconciliation through the arts.