A native of Berlin, Sarah van der Kemp began her musical education in musicology and piano studies at the Hochschule der Künste Berlin. Before graduating, she decided to pursue a career in singing and commenced her vocal studies at the Hanns Eisler Hochschule für Musik in Berlin with Julia Varady (as featured on the DVD, “Masterclass with Julia Varady”, 2007), who has been accompanying her as a mentor ever since. During this time she received a scholarship from the Richard-Wagner-Association. In the field of song interpretation, she has been particularly influenced by the work with Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau while attending his master classes.
Throughout the course of her engagements at the Deutsche Oper Berlin (2005-07) and the Staatstheater Schwerin (2007-2010) she developed a broad repertoire. She performed roles such as Judith (Duke Bluebeard’s Castle), the composer (Ariadne on Naxos), Preziosilla (Forza del destino), Rosina (Barbiere di Siviglia), Hansel (Hansel and Gretel), Sesto (Cesare), Mercédès and Carmen, Fox (The Cunning Little Vixen), Ross White (Valkyrie), the 2nd Lady (The Magic Flute), Flora (La Traviata), Infermiera (Suor Angelica), and Ciesca (Gianni Schicchi). After her tenure, she continued working for both houses as a freelance vocalist.
Increasingly, she has been focusing on dramatic roles. For example, she gave her debut as Sieglinde (Valkyrie) and Venus (Tannhäuser) with the Shenzhen Symphony Orchestra in Hong Kong, at the Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern as Eboli (Don Carlos) and Laura (La Gioconda). In the Cathédrale des Invalides in Paris she took on the alto part in Verdi’s Requiem.
Other engagements have taken her to the Dresdener Philharmonie (Hansel and 9th Symphony of Beethoven), the Staatsoper Berlin (Lulu), Festival Avignon and the Teatro Comunale di Ferrara (Impromptus by Sasha Walz), Festival de Radio France in Montpellier, Orchestre symphonique de Mulhouse, Philarmonie Baden-Baden, Südwestdeutsches Kammerorchester Pforzheim, Brandenburger Symphoniker, and Thüringen Philharmonie Gotha. She collaborated with conductors such as Donald Runnicles, Sebastian Weigle, Yves Abel, Michael Gielen, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Stefano Ranzani, Philippe Auguin, and Matthias Foremny.
In the concert area she has a particular passion for the interpretation of the orchestral Lied. Her repertoire includes songs by Mahler (songs of a traveling journeyman, Rückert and the boy’s Wunderhorn songs, songs on the death of children), Wagner (Wesendonck songs), Berlioz (Nuits d’été), de Falla (Siete canciones populares españolas), as well more unknown songs, such as a selection of Duparc songs, Alban Berg’s concert aria The Wine or the first recording of the Love Song by Panufnik (Konzerthausorchester Berlin).
Together with the conductor Aurélien Bello, she develops programs for orchestra and mezzo-soprano with selected songs. Their debut concert with works by Liszt and Wagner was performed in 2017 at the Havelländische Festspiele and received enthusiastic applause.