Sara LeMesh was raised in the San Francisco Bay Area in a Jewish family of Romanian descent. Her family belonged to Congregation Rodef Sholom where she relished opportunities to sing with Cantor David Margules. At the age of eight, Sara developed a passion for classical music and began voice and piano lessons. While pursuing an opera career, Sara earned a Bachelor of Music degree at Rice University in 2012 and graduated magna cum laude. She earned a Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance at Bard College in 2014 where she was a teaching assistant for ear training and music theory courses. She also worked closely with soprano Dawn Upshaw and coach/pianist Kayo Iwama during her training.
While pursuing her music degrees, Sara performed at numerous classical summer music festivals: Tanglewood Music Center, SongFest, Music Academy of the West, Aspen Music Festival (New Horizons Fellow), Mozarteum University Salzburg, and the American Bach Soloists Academy. She also studied French intensively at the American University Center of Provence in Aix-en-Provence, France. Shortly after graduating from Bard College, Sara performed for a season in the San Francisco Opera chorus.
With pianist Allegra Chapman, Sara performs in the duo Chordless, creating unique spaces to explore and appreciate music that has historically been ignored or is brand new. In February 2020, the duo produced a “heartbreakingly beautiful” (San Francisco Chronicle) music video for the final movement of George Crumb's “Apparition.” The film received international recognition and was an official selection in the Tokyo International Short Film Festival and Montreal Independent Film Festival. It was also a finalist in the Seattle Film Festival and Hudson Valley Film Fest.
In addition to performing, Sara has maintained a longtime passion for serving vulnerable and isolated populations. As part of her Bat Mitzvah project, she volunteered with Bread & Roses, a Bay Area nonprofit dedicated to providing free entertainment for people living in institutional settings. She initially performed solo recitals in nursing homes; however, as she gained experience, she began volunteering in jails, prisons, and rehabilitation facilities. One of her most profound musical experiences to date includes a performance at San Quentin State Prison followed by a discussion on the healing powers of music.
Sara’s participation with Bread & Roses eventually motivated her to create Ayuda Care, an online platform for assisted living facilities to discover and book enriching activities for their residents. While living in San Francisco, Sara continued to volunteer for various organizations, including Braid Mission, a nonprofit that provides team-based mentorship for foster youth, and the Hospital Elder Life Program at Sutter Health, an initiative within hospitals to provide better care for acutely ill older adults.
Sara looks forward to continuing supporting marginalized people during the HUC Year-In-Israel Program with T’ruah, a rabbinic human rights organization, which she will serve as a Fellow. She can’t wait to share her love for music, public service, and Jewish song with a local Jewish congregation upon her return to the HUC campus in the summer of 2022.
Sara currently resides in New York City with her husband, Siggy, and their beloved rescue dog, Rosie. When she isn’t singing or studying, you can find her outside on a hike, bike, run, or sipping iced coffee at the nearby dog park with her fur baby.
“LeMesh, known in the world of classical and contemporary opera for lush tone, exceptional high-register clarity, dramatic breadth, and fearless command in roles offering unpredictable vulnerability, is in demand.”
SAN FRANCISCO CLASSICAL VOICE