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Sarah Fernandes, an Omaha native, began her journey in piano at the age of four under the guidance of Mirela Mlynska. She is currently studying under the tutelage of Dr. Washington Garcia. 


Sarah’s talent was recognized early, winning first prizes at the 2021 Charleston International Music Competition (Romantic Division) and the 2022 American Protege International Piano Competition. These achievements culminated in her debut at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall in New York at just ten years old. She was also a national finalist at the 2022 American Prize Piano Competition and the 2022 GOCAA San Francisco International Music Competition, where she was honored with the Audience Favorite Award. 


In 2021, Sarah was recognized by the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) as KVNO’s Classical Kid. This accolade included an interview with Omaha’s classical radio station and a performance at the UNO Strauss Performing Arts Center. In October 2022, she was invited to perform at the Holland Performing Arts Center in Omaha for Project Harmony’s 25th Anniversary Gala, where she was featured as a child musical prodigy. 


Sarah performed a concerto at Ganz Hall in Chicago in January 2023 at just ten years old. She was among 16 selected to perform with a professional orchestra at the International Young Artist Concerto Competition, earning her semi-finalist spot after competing with over 100 contestants from 23 states and six countries. 


Sarah has been invited to participate in both the 12th and 13th Texas State International Piano Festivals, where she performed in masterclasses for world-renowned artists such as Dr. Enrico Elisi, Dr. Joseph Rackers, Dr. Jason Kwak, Marina Lomazov from the Eastman School of Music, and Michelle Cann from the Curtis Institute of Music. She has also performed in masterclass with Alan Chow from the Eastman School of Music. Sarah participated in Piano Day 2023 at Stetson University and received a masterclass with visiting artist Meng-Chieh Liu from the Curtis Institute of Music.   


In September 2023, Sarah won an audition to represent the Omaha Music Teachers Association (OMTA) at a Masterclass with world-renowned GRAMMY-winning pianist Emanuel Ax. Sarah received excellent reviews from Emanual Ax and OMTA faculty for her performance at the masterclass, at the Holland Performing Arts Center in Omaha. She has consistently received Superior ratings in all her performances at the Nebraska Music Teachers Association District and State festivals and the Omaha Music Teachers Association Trophy Festivals. Sarah is the winner of the Nebraska State MTNA Junior piano competition 2023, and she is the winner of the 2024 OMTA Young Artists' Competition. She will debut as a guest soloist with the Mainland Symphony Orchestra in April 2024.  

Most recently, Sarah was invited to perform as a guest soloist with the Baroque Chamber Orchestra in Orlando, playing Haydn's concerto in D Major.


In addition to her piano accomplishments, Sarah is also an accomplished speller. She is the Scripps 2023 Midwest OSC Spelling Bee Champion and was the youngest finalist at the 2023 Scripps National Spelling Bee, placing 10th. This year, she once again competed in the 2024 Scripps National Spelling Bee and placed 9th. 


Currently a sixth grader at St. Stephen the Martyr School in Omaha, Nebraska, Sarah’s interests extend beyond music, including composition, improvisation, math, science, and spelling bee contests. 

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