Sarah was born in 1979 into a family of musicians, writers, and psychoanalysts. She spent her young childhood concocting gibberish sounds and songs around the house, dancing, and playing cello. She became enraptured by photography when she was thirteen. Small spent her high school years photographing her close friends and her younger red-headed sister, Rachel, wandering the streets of her hometown, Washington DC, equipped with her Pentax K1000.
After graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2001, Small moved to Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where she currently resides. Small spent the first ten years in NY working as a photographer, with music as a side-lined hobby. In 2011, Small started creating Tableau Vivant performances, based on her acclaimed photography series, The Delirium Constructions. Shortly afterwards, her interest in photography receded and her explorations in music composition and performance came to the forefront. Small is currently enrolled in classes at Juilliard.
Small currently sings and composes vocal scores with her two a cappella trios, Black Sea Hotel and Hydra, as well as for an electronic / vocal project, Jessica Brainstorm. She is currently writing an opera (her second Tableau) for choir, strings, and electronics for a projected premiere in 2018. Most recently, she has written works that have been recorded with Yo-Yo Ma and performed by Kronos Quartet, BSH, and Brooklyn Youth Chorus. Black Sea Hotel has appeared on NPR, PRI, The New York Times, as well as topping charts on iTunes International.
Small’s photography and performances have been featured in Vogue, LIFE, The Washington Post, Rolling Stone, The New York Times, and The New Yorker, and have been shown in galleries throughout the United States, China, Taiwan, Korea, Madrid, Hungary, Germany, France, Italy, Great Britain, Australia, and the Netherlands.
Most recently, Small has appeared as lead actress in Josephine Decker’s psychological thriller, “Butter on the Latch,” wherein Small was described as “a revelation (noted to have) the best screen performance at Berlinale 2014” (Chris O’Neil, Experimental Conversations). The narrative feature landed on The New Yorker’s Top Ten Films of 2014, quoted by Richard Brody as being “a bold, unsettling film… (with) teeming, rolling energy (and) marvels of image and imagination.” Sarah has roles in three upcoming features currently in production.