Sarah Wald was born in Chicago. She attended Columbia University in the City of New York for her bachelor’s degree in music with a focus in composition. While at Columbia, Sarah studied composition with Tristan Murail and Arthur Kampela, as well as with Robert Lombardo in Chicago. She also studied flute with Sue Ann Kahn. Sarah then studied with Conrad Susa and David Garner at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music for her master’s degree in composition. For her master’s thesis, she composed and produced Elegy for a Lady: a Music Drama in One Act. Sarah is currently pursuing her PhD in composition and music theory at the University of California, Davis. She was awarded a Graduate Scholars Fellowship by UC Davis for her first year. Her current teacher is Kurt Rohde.
Over the past several years, Sarah's music has been featured at various festivals and other programs, including the Wintergreen Summer Music Festival, the European American Musical Alliance in Paris, the New York Youth Symphony’s Composition Program, the nief-norf Summer Music Festival, the Brevard Music Center, the TALIS Festival, and the Bowdoin Festival. Her work was also performed at Sävellyspaja in Finland and has been featured on radio stations such as WFMT (Relevant Tones) and CJSR.
Sarah has received several honors, awards, and commissions. She graduated from Columbia magna cum laude and also received Columbia’s Rapaport Prize in 2012. In 2014 and 2016, she was a finalist in the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards. In 2015, she was awarded professional development grants from the Illinois Arts Council Agency and Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. Her percussion quartet, Pas de Quatre, was selected by the University of Tennessee Knoxville for performance at PASIC 2015's New Literature Showcase Concert. Sarah has also received several individual commissions as well as commissions from Access Contemporary Music, the University of Tennessee at Martin Contemporary Music Group, and the Saint Xavier University Flute Choir. In 2016 and 2017, she was a selected in calls for scores from New Music on the Bayou and Vox Musica. She was also a selected composer for North/South Consonance's call for scores in 2018 and the Sewanee Summer Music Festival in 2020. In January 2020, Sarah was a selected to compose a score for the Sound of Silent Film Festival in Chicago.