Sara Davis Buechner (born: David Buechner, 1964) is a transsexual American concert pianist and educator. Buechner received her undergraduate degree from Juilliard School, and received her doctorate in music from the Manhattan School of Music. Buechner was awarded 9th prize for piano at the 1983 Queen Elisabeth Music Competition. A major prize-winner of many of the world's most prestigious international piano competitions - Leeds, Salzburg, Sydney and Vienna - she established her early career by winning the Gold Medal of the 1984 Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition in Salt Lake City, Utah, and as a Bronze Medalist of the 1986 Tschaikowsky International Piano Competition in Moscow. Buechner underwent gender reassignment surgery in 1998.
Sara Davis Buechner has been celebrated as a pianist of noteworthy accomplishment, virtuosic mastery, artistic sensitivity and extraordinary versatility. With an active repertoire of nearly 100 piano concertos ranging from Bach to Wuorinen, she has appeared as soloist with America's most prominent orchestras: the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra and San Francisco Symphony Orchestra; and abroad with the Japan Philharmonic, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic, Kuopio Philharmonic (Finland), Slovak Philharmonic and the Orquesta Sinfónica de Castilla y León (Spain). She was a featured artist at the "Piano 2000" Gala Concerts at the Kennedy Center with the National Symphony Orchestra, and made her debut at Lincoln Center's "Mostly Mozart" Festival. In addition to her frequent North American concert appearances and radio broadcasts, she tours widely throughout the Far East on a yearly basis. Growing in popularity in Canada, she has recently performed with the CBC Radio Orchestra, Orchestra London, Victoria Symphony, Edmonton Symphony, the Montreal Chamber Orchestra, Hamilton Philharmonic, McGill Chamber Orchestra and Calgary Philharmonic and has toured widely as a soloist throughout Canada. She was recently the subject of a feature article in MacLeans Magazine.
In recent seasons Sara Davis Buechner was the featured artists at the piano 2000 gala concerts in Washington DC with the National Symphony Orchestra under Leonard Slatkin, and made her recital debut at Lincoln Center's Mostly Mozart Festival. She played solo recital at Rockefeller University in NYC, chamber music with the Rosetti Quartet, concerto appearances in NY, Sacramento and San Jose, and another tour of Japan.
Sara Davis Buechner is a champion of young American composers and has given premieres of solo, concerto and film-interactive works by Larry Bell, Pierre Charvet, Richard Danielpour, Dick Hyman, Kenneth Lampl, Henry Martin and Paul Moravec. She recently gave both the Boston and NY premieres of Larry Bell's hour long cycle of Prelude and Fugues. She appears regularly with the Film Society of Lincoln Center (Walter Reade Theatre), as one of the few pianists to actively perform piano scores to silent movies, notably the 150-minute long restored version of Ben-Hur (1925), and the Danish classic Master of the House (1925). She has also collaborated on dance projects with choreographer Neta Pulvermacher and toured extensively with the Mark Morris Dance Group.
Sara Davis Buechner was a former faculty member at the Manhattan School of Music in NYC and the faculty of New York University. In 2003 she was appointed Assistant Professor of Piano at the University of British Columbia - Vancouver. She has also presented lectures and master-classes worldwide, including at the Boston and Peabody Conservatories, Indiana and Northwestern Universities, the Juilliard School of Music in New York, Kobe-Yamate Gakuen in Osaka, Japan, the Shandelee Festival, the Royal Academy in London, and throughout Japan and Korea. She plays the Yamaha Piano exclusively.
Profiles of Sara Davis Buechner have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Paris Match, Noticias del Argentina, Out, Blade and Frontiers magazines; and she has been featured on the television programs Entertainment Tonight, Extra, In the Life, and Bynon. Her appearances on radio include profiles on NPR's The Fishko Files and Performance Today, WFMT's Dame Myra Hess Recital Series and WNYC's New Sounds with John Schaefer.
Sara Davis Buechner's recording of piano music by George Gershwin was selected as a "Record of the Month" by Stereophile magazine; her 1997 world premiere recording of the Ferruccio Busoni version of J.S. Bach's Goldberg Variations (BWV 988) was profiled in the Arts & Leisure section of the New York Times; and her recording of Hollywood piano concertos by Bernard Herrmann and Franz Waxman won Germany's Deutsches Schauplatten Preis for best soundtrack. Pro Piano has released her CD of the complete piano music of Stephen Foster, and her fourth recording for Koch International was recently released featuring piano music by Rudolf Friml. Her extensive discography also includes more than ten disks for the Yamaha Disklavier and Piano Soft systems.