Sandra Carlock


"With some concert musicians, you don’t notice their skills. They simply take you by the arm and lead you into their magic country. ‘This,’ they seem to say, ‘is where Beethoven (or whoever) lives and this is what he told me.’ Just such an artist is Miss Sandra Carlock."

The Petersfield Post

©Sandra Carlock

About Sandra

Sandra Carlock has contributed significantly in many areas of her artistic achievement. She is, in the first instance, a pianist of unusual depth and range. Her piano playing projects deep feeling, drama, and excitement, illumined by imagination and intelligence. Yet her personality and considerable virtuosity remain consistently at the service of her art.

Sandra has understood her relationship to her artistry, however, on a much broader scale. She believes that great music and art can and must be relevant to every person, and by extension, must be an essential part of the education of every child. This has led her to a lifetime career as a teacher and chamber music coach, as well as a performer. It has prompted her to lecture and to present lecture/recitals about composers, their music, and their lives and process as artists. She also speaks about her own approach to performing, and has presented “Informances” – which involve the audience in a much more active role than in a typical concert setting. An “informance” is a delightful and instructive combination of a traditional recital along with chat about the music Sandra has selected, her ideas about the music, her approach to preparing it, the way artists practice, how a program is constructed…really any subject of interest to her audience. Or any subject which she wishes to discuss and which she believes has relevance to the music programmed. She has presented numerous school concerts at all grade levels, is a frequent presenter of master classes for young pianists and has even brought her art to cruise ships featuring classical music recitals as part of the onboard entertainment, while traveling to countries world-wide.

Artistic Philosophy

All of these approaches to performance point to her artistic philosophy and to her dedication to the idea that everyone, regardless of previous exposure to so-called ‘classical’ music, can be active listeners and participants in experiencing great music. As part of her commitment to making this a reality she feels strongly about her responsibility to her audience. This begins with understanding the performer as the middle person in any type of concert situation, responsible for a performance which is, as much as any artist can discern, faithful to the composer’s intentions. Given that, Sandra believes that this must be done in the way the composer directs, and must be confident and often forceful, often dramatic, and hopefully always done sensitively, and imaginatively ... while at the same time not imposing one’s own personality. It must not be about the performer, but rather about the music!

Sandra has appeared as recitalist, and as soloist with orchestra throughout the United States, Great Britain and Europe. She has become known, as well, as a master teacher, lecturer, recording artist, and also as a collaborative pianist and chamber music artist. And although she typically performs on the modern grand piano, she has also spent much time exploring and performing on restored pianos from the late 1700s on through to the 20th century. This has given her a very real sense of what composers from past eras heard as they wrote for the piano. These experiences offer great insight into how music of each period should be realized on our modern instruments.

Acknowledgments and Awards

Sandra holds the Arthur Judson Distinguished Faculty Chair in Piano at Settlement Music School in Philadelphia, PA where she has taught piano and chamber music by Special Arrangement for the past 48 years. She has recently been recognized once more with Steinway & Sons' annual Top Teacher Award of 2018, along with her previous recognition in 2016. The awards were given for outstanding instruction and leadership in piano education. In addition, also, to the critical acclaim accorded her solo CDs, Sandra’s collaboration for the past five years with French violinist, Guillaume Combet, has resulted in the release of an album of French Violin Sonatas for SOMM Recordings in England.
Sandra and Guillaume are known as The Carlock-Combet Duo. The album has been widely praised and was named CD of the Month and also was included in the list of CDs of the Year by Music Web International, 2017.

©Sandra Carlock

©Sandra Carlock


As a postscript, Sandra has, in recent years, begun to make her mark as a versatile and sensitive photographer, from landscapes to cityscapes and architectural images, to portraits of her students. She seems to follow here in the footsteps of American composer Edward A. MacDowell, whose music she has recorded, and who, in addition to being a virtuoso pianist and teacher, pursued photography in later life. MacDowell also believed fervently in musical education as an artistic responsibility. Sandra finds many parallels as she develops and expresses her creativity through both music and photography.

She invites you to enjoy the site. All images are Sandra's own works, unless otherwise attributed.

Site by Bryan Jensen