Sarah Neufeld is a violinist and composer based in Montréal, Canada. Best known as a member of Arcade Fire, she is also a founding member of the acclaimed contemporary instrumental ensemble Bell Orchestre.
Sarah began developing pieces for solo violin in a formal sense in 2011, though she has made improvisation and solo composition part of her process and practice since first picking up the instrument at a young age. Sarah counts Bela Bartok, Steve Reich, Iva Bittova, and Arthur Russell among the formative influences for her solo work, in tandem with an ear for the textures and sensibilities of contemporary electro-acoustic, avant-folk and indie rock music.
Sarah's debut solo album Hero Brother, released August 2013 on Constellation Records, indeed channels all of the above, flowing through shifting atmospheres and oscillating between restrained, stately ambience, emotive études, and raw kinetic energy. Small touches of wordless vocalisation, harmonium, and piano supplant the violin in a few places. The album was recorded in Berlin by pianist and producer Nils Frahm, with Sarah's performances captured in a number of locations with site-specific acoustics, including an abandoned geodesic dome.
In February 2016 Sarah released her second full length album, The Ridge, via Paper Bag Records and Kartel Music Group. It is a body of work that sees Sarah moving away from Hero Brother's classical minimalism and sepulchral ambience, and into the world of rhythmic pop minimalism. The new album employs more emphasis on vocalizations than Sarah's previous works; the interplay between Sarah's voice and violin has become strongly integrated and narrative. The album also features Arcade Fire’s Jeremy Gara on drums, adding greater layers to the compositions, creating an intense, dynamic atmosphere, and a captivating listen from start to finish.