Sara Davis Buech­ner’s mu­sic magic

Fol­low­ing years of hard­ships, the ac­claimed pi­anist vis­its Hal­i­fax for an ex­tra­or­di­nary recital.


Sara Davis Buech­ner Sat­ur­day, No­vem­ber 17, 7pm Lil­ian Piercey Con­cert Hall, Mar­itime Con­ser­va­tory of Per­form­ing Arts 6199 Che­bucto Road $10-$35 ce­cil­i­a­con­

Pi­anist Sara Davis Buech­ner is ready to give Hal­i­fax con­cert­go­ers a recital they won’t soon for­get. An ac­claimed mu­si­cian who’s seen her share of per­sonal and pro­fes­sional strug­gles as a trans­gen­der in­di­vid­ual, it’s a mir­a­cle she’s here to share her tal­ents—a tes­ta­ment to the re­silience mu­sic has pro­vided her.

Play­ing pi­ano from three years old, Da--

vis Buech­ner says “we don’t choose mu­sic—it chooses us.” Grow­ing up in the 1960s Bal­ti­more sub­urbs, her un­com­mon dreams alone caused the mu­si­cian to stand out. Be­ing trans­gen­der made mat­ters worse.

Play­ing along­side or­ches­tras and phil­har­mon­ics, she hid her iden­tity by cross-dress­ing, un­til she found the strength to live her truth. “Com­ing out in 1998 ef­fec­tively ended my pro­fes­sional life in the United States,” says Davis Buech­ner. “I was fired from an im­por­tant teach­ing po­si­tion, un­able to get con­cert work and black­listed by pre­sen­ters and mu­si­cal col­leagues whom I con­sid­ered friends.”

Des­ti­tute and nearly home­less, mu­sic car­ried the pi­anist through tough times. Work­ing for $600 a month at a com­mu­nity mu­sic school, she even­tu­ally be­gan teach­ing at the Univer­sity of British Columbia—sig­nalling a ca­reer re­birth fol­lowed by op­por­tu­ni­ties in the record­ing arts and sym­phonic worlds. “Mu­sic is al­ways in my soul to pro­vide di­rec­tion, com­fort and clar­ity,” she says. “It is for me, the sound of god, and that hum­bles and de­lights me.”

She’ll be de­liv­er­ing a fan­tas­tic solo recital to Hal­i­fax, fea­tur­ing works by Mozart, Suesse and Gershwin. Ul­ti­mately, it’s a chance for au­di­ences to wit­ness the power of mu­sic— some­thing Davis Buech­ner knows all too well. “The magic of mu­sic is that ev­ery per­son in the au­di­ence can take some­thing dif­fer­ent away from what hap­pens on stage,” she says. “I’m happy if peo­ple en­joy what I do, how I do it and if it opens a few in­ner doors and outer ears.”

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