The Sarasa Ensemble performs music from the early Baroque through the Romantic eras. It has received critical acclaim for its “informed and impassioned music-making” and is hailed for its “great clarity” and “irresistible energy.” Drawing on a pool of more than seventy-five world-class musicians from the United States, Europe, and Canada, the ensemble varies in size according to the particular program of each of its concerts. Since 1999 the ensemble has produced the Sarasa Chamber Music Series in Cambridge and Concord, Massachusetts. Sarasa has toured throughout New England performing on many renowned music series, including the Frick Collection, the Morgan Library, the 92nd Street Y, the Boston Early Music Festival Series, and the University of Vermont Lane Series. The group has also performed at the Sligo Early Music Festival in Ireland, and traveled to Cuba and India.
History of Sarasa
Sarasa was formed in response to a concert played by its founder, Timothy Merton, in the Sing Sing Correctional Facility in 1997, at the urging of a friend who was a prison volunteer. An inmate who heard that first concert wrote, “When art is well executed, it projects a message that transcends language, culture, and even aesthetic boundaries.” Sarasa took these words to heart and since then has been bringing high-quality music to those who ordinarily have little access to it. The ensemble has performed in adult and adolescent correctional facilities, homes for the elderly, mental hospitals, and institutions for the disabled.
For the past ten years Sarasa’s outreach program has focused more on working with incarcerated teenagers. In 2010 Sarasa won an award from Early Music America for outstanding achievement in outreach. Every concert season the group plays more than eighteen outreach concerts and facilitates six residency programs in teenage correctional centers. Through these programs Sarasa seeks to address the spiritual and emotional suffering of incarcerated youth and provide them with joy, hope and opportunities for healing through self-expression.
The name Sarasa is derived from a combination of Saraswathi, the Hindu goddess of art and culture, and the poetic Sanskrit word rasa, denoting the essence of sound.
Director and Board Member:
Timothy Merton | Cellist and Founder of Sarasa
Dr. Christoph Wald | Radiologist, Lahey Clinic, Burlington, MA
Thomas Vignieri | Music Producer of “From the Top” radio program
Helen Barrington | Program Director, WFCR public radio, Amherst, MA
Deborah Hoover | Director of Development at Emmanuel Music, Boston, MA
Barbara Kapp | Barbara Kapp and Associates, Architectural Services Company, Cambridge, MA