Sarah Hennies

Sarah Hennies

She // Her // Hers

[ID: A woman photographed from the shoulders up wearing a blue collared shirt and red lipstick with long hair combed over the left shoulder. She is positioned in front of mostly beige floral wallpaper drawing by visual artist Mara Baldwin.]

Portrait photo by Mara Baldwin.

Composer and Percussionist
Red Hook, NY
2024 USA Fellow

This award was generously supported by Ford Foundation.

Sarah Hennies is a composer based in Upstate NY whose work is concerned with a variety of musical, sociopolitical, and psychological issues including queer and trans identity, psychoacoustics, and the social and neurological conditions underlying creative thought. Hennies is primarily a composer of acoustic ensemble music, but she is also active in improvisation, film, and performance art. She presents her work internationally as both a composer and percussionist with notable performances at MoMA PS1 (NYC), Monday Evening Concerts (Los Angeles), Warsaw Autumn, Ruhrtriennale (Essen, Germany), Archipel Festival (Geneva), Darmstädter Ferienkurse, Time:Spans (NYC), and the Edition Festival (Stockholm). As a composer, she has received commissions across a wide array of performers and ensembles including Bearthoven, Bent Duo, Claire Chase, Ensemble Dedalus, Mivos String Quartet, Talea Ensemble, Nate Wooley, and Yarn/Wire.

Her ground–breaking audiovisual work Contralto (2017) explores transfeminine identity through the elements of “voice feminization” therapy, featuring a cast of transgender women accompanied by a dense and varied musical score for string quartet and three percussionists. This work was a finalist for the 2019 Queer|Art Prize.

Hennies is a recipient of a 2019 Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artists Award, a 2016 fellowship in music/sound from the New York Foundation for the Arts, and has received additional support from the Fromm Foundation, Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, New Music USA, the New York State Council on the Arts, and the Creative Work Fund.

"Come 'Round Right," 2020. Collaborative work. Sculptures by Mara Baldwin. Performed by Stephanie Coleman, Anna Roberts-Gevalt, Maeve Schallert, and Libby Weitnauer at the 2020 FERUS Festival, National Sawdust, Brooklyn.
  • Artwork by Sarah Hennies
    Found object. Photo by Sarah Hennies. Cover image for Motor Tapes, 2 × CD. New World Records, forthcoming, March 2024.
    [ID: A plastic gray brain with thick red veins protrudes from the top of a head that has been dissected. The head is made of a clear transparent material.]
Artwork by Sarah Hennies