Sarah Bullen is adjunct professor of music in harp at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.
Bullen was appointed principal harpist of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) in 1997 and held the position for 24 years, until her retirement in 2021. She began her orchestral career in 1981 as principal harpist of the Utah Symphony, and from 1987 to1997, she was principal harpist of the New York Philharmonic.
During her tenure with the CSO, she performed on more than 20 international tours and won critical acclaim in more than 50 concerto appearances under, among others, Daniel Barenboim, Ricardo Muti, Zubin Mehta, and Eric Leinsdorf. She performed as a soloist and chamber musician and served as a lecturer and judge at numerous American Harp Society conferences, World Harp Congresses, and the USA International Harp Competition.
Bullen has taught master classes throughout the world and served as chairperson of the harp department of the Manhattan School of Music and Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of Performing Arts. Her students have won major orchestra positions and launched successful professional careers.
She is the author of the two-volume book Principal Harp: A Guidebook for the Orchestral Harpist and coauthor of Anthology of Harp Duets, Volume One. Her solo and chamber music recordings include The Essential Harp and Lyon and Healy Hall’s Inaugural Concert.
Originally from Long Island, New York, Bullen was a student of Marcel Grandjany, Mildred Dilling, and Susann McDonald. As a Naumburg Award recipient, she graduated from The Juilliard School with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music.
For her achievements in the field, Bullen was recognized as one of the influential harpists of the twentieth century in Harp Column magazine. Upon her retirement in 2021, she received the CSO’s Theodore Thomas Medallion for Distinguished Service from Zell Music Director Riccardo Muti.