Rebecca Sacks is a Boston-based composer whose music has been performed throughout the United States, and in France and Spain. Her specialty is choral music for amateur to advanced choirs, as well as music for classically trained soloists and chamber ensembles.
Sacks’s works have been performed by groups such as the Talea Ensemble, the Talujon Percussion Group, members of the Radnofsky Saxophone Quartet, members of the Genkin Philharmonic, the Tufts University Chamber Singers and the Tufts University Concert Choir (under both Andrew Clark and Jamie Kirsch), Tufts’ West African Percussion Ensemble, the University of Alabama's Percussion Ensemble (under Tim Feeney), the Mockingbird Trio, the Cardamom String Quartet, and the Cantata Singers of Elmira, NY, as well as various freelance musicians.
Sacks combines her love for composing choral music with her interest in raising awareness of cultural issues such as climate change and homelessness. Her 3-movement choral work, “Songs for the Earth,” premiered by the Tufts University combined choruses (plus piano and percussion) in 2019, sets poems that relate to climate change and interconnectedness with nature. Sacks’s choral work-in-progress “Homeless in You” explores the experience of homelessness, and will be performed by a choir of self-identifying homeless women combined with an established women’s choir.
Multiculturalism has been emphasized in many of Sacks’s compositions. She is currently completing a commission for Chorus pro Musica that will feature arrangements of folk lullabies from around the world. Her study of music of the Ewe tribe (of Ghana and Togo) has influenced many of her works, including “Dzidefo,” “Agbadza Revisted,” “Theme and Four Variations on a Gahu Theme,” and her recent string quartet “An Agbadza Dance” (2020).
Sacks’s solo piano piece for Thomas Stumpf, “One at a Time,” is included on his 2017 CD with Albany Records entitled "Reflections on Time and Mortality." Her background in jazz piano strongly influences her harmonic language; and Fanfare Magazine describes this work as “almost a single line that weaves over a wide range, and suggests a dream of jazz.”
Sacks received an MFA in composition and theory from Brandeis University, and a BA in music from Tufts University (summa cum laude). During her college years, she attended the European American Musical Alliance (EAMA) Summer Composition Program at the Schola Cantorum in Paris, where she studied counterpoint, harmony, and analysis in the tradition of Nadia Boulanger. Also as an undergraduate, Sacks received the Etta and Harry Winokur Award for Outstanding Achievement in Artistic or Scholarly Work from the Tufts Music Department.
In 2007, she was a finalist at the Ithaca College Choral Composition Festival for her composition “The Mirror,” which was performed the previous year in Spain by the Tufts Chamber Singers. Sacks’s teachers
include John McDonald, Martin Boykan, Yu-Hui Chang and Melinda Wagner. She is the music theory and composition faculty member at Powers Music School (Belmont, MA), where she teaches classes and lessons for children and adults at all levels. Sacks also maintains a private studio for all ages, where she teaches piano (jazz and classical), music theory and composition.