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Sarah Taylor Ellis

Sarah Taylor Ellis



Whether composing a rock musical or an opera, for a women's chorus marching on NYC or a play at the UK's National Theatre, Sarah Taylor Ellis puts soaring, storytelling melodies and a distinctive choral sound at the heart of her music. Sarah is a lecturer at HfS Ernst Busch and Universität Bayreuth, as well as a musical director and dramaturg. Her work aims to embrace the inherent hybridity and multiplicity of music theater as an art form.

Sarah is currently collaborating with Berlin-based Musiktheatergruppe glanz&krawall as the musical director for Stadt der Teufel (Heimathafen Neukölln, March 2024), Korrepetitorin for LULU: Revanche im Zirkuszelt (CABUWAZI Tempelhof, September 2024) and the composer and musical director of Die Tüten aus der Verwaltung: Arbeit Nervt! (Theater Thikwa, December 2024).

These Girls Have Demons, an original feminist rock musical with book and lyrics by Ovation Award-winning playwright Meghan Brown, is in development with Pittsburgh CLO and was showcased in the December 2023 Deutsche Musical Akademie schreib:maschine. EMMA: No One But Herself, with book and lyrics also by Brown, is now available for licensing with Uproar Theatrics and had its first production at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts in London in July 2023. Four-time Olivier Award winner Maria Friedman and Wigmore Hall Associate Artist Gweneth Ann Rand starred in the 2019 London reading of The Trojan Women, directed by Adele Thomas. With libretto by Ellen McLaughlin, this hybrid musical/chamber opera was the recipient of a 2019 OPERA America Discovery Grant.

Sarah was the composer and musical director for The UK National Theatre's Hamlet for young audiences, adapted by Jude Christian with direction by Tinuke Craig. Sarah has also composed stand-alone songs for Pittsburgh CLO, the Berliner Domkantorei, activist opera company White Snake Projects, and investigative theater company The Civilians, and she collaborated on an original choral piece, "We Walk Through," that kicked off the Women's March on NYC on January 21, 2017. Sarah's composition of "Mayme's Song," originally written for a star-studded reading of Intimate Apparel at NYC's Signature Theatre, has since been featured in productions across the US and UK.

As a musical director, Sarah has worked on classic and new musicals, plays with music, actor-muso pieces, and concerts in venues including the UK's National Theatre, Berlin's Heimathafen Neukölln, NYC's 54 Below, and universities and schools across the US and UK. As a dramaturg, Sarah has supported the development of innovative new plays and musicals ranging from Psittacus Productions' Pulitzer Prize-nominated Cyclops: A Rock Opera to the anarchist song cycle Untuned Ears Hear Nothing But Discord, which Tony Award-winner Lindsay Mendez premiered in Lincoln Center's 2015 American Songbook Series. Sarah's theater criticism and scholarship have been published in American Theatre, L.A. Weekly, Studies in Musical Theatre, and anthologies with Palgrave and Routledge. Her monograph Doing the Time Warp: Strange Temporalities and Musical Theatre was published by Methuen Drama in 2022.

Sarah is currently a lecturer at HfS Ernst Busch and Universität Bayreuth, where she was recognized with the "Goldene Feder" Award for her exceptional teaching. She has previously taught at Cours Florent Berlin, CODE University, ArtsEd, The University of Chester, The Nightingale-Bamford School, The Metropolitan Opera Guild, Roundabout Theatre Company, and UCLA. She is an active member of 1781 Collective, the Berliner Domkantorei, and Maestra D-A-CH, and she holds a Ph.D. in Theater & Performance Studies from UCLA and a B.A. in Theater Studies/Music and English from Duke University.

Professional Experience

  • Regional
  • Concerts/Cabaret
  • Education
  • Community Theatre
  • Bachelor’s Degree
  • Doctoral Degree


  • Germany

Interested in touring?

  • No

Maestra Expertise

  • Theatrical Composer (Music only)
  • Music Director/Conductor (Pianist)
  • Vocal Arranger
  • Incidental Music Composer/Arranger
  • Classroom Music Teacher
  • Class/Voice Lesson/Rehearsal Pianist
  • Rehearsal Pianist
  • Voice Teacher (Educational Institution)

Primary Instruments

  • Piano


  • Finale
  • GarageBand