The Canadian pianist, Sara Jane Schmidt, began piano studies (after begging her parents) at the age of 7 with Norma Poidevin, and continued through high school with Margaret Hamilton Bach (now deceased). At what is now called Canadian Mennonite University (formerly Concord College/Mennonite Brethren Bible College), she studied with Irmgard Baerg, and at Brandon University her teacher was Dr. Lawrence Jones. As well, she has received coaching through master-classes with international artists such as Marek Jablonski, Janina Fialkowska, Mykola Suk, and Jon Kimura Parker, among others. Her academic credentials include the Performer's A.R.C.T. from the Royal Conservatory of Music, a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Winnipeg (medallist), Bachelor of Religious Studies from Mennonite Brethren Bible College, both with a music major, and a Master of Music degree (gold medal) in piano performance from Brandon University.
Sara Jane Schmidt has been teaching music for about 30 years now. She taught piano and theory for many years at Concord College, but now focuses exclusively on her private studio, where she teaches piano, music theory and piano pedagogy. She also spends volunteer time organizing and leading worship music, choirs, and providing keyboard music at her church, choirs, and providing keyboard music at her church, River East Mennonite Brethren, on McLeod Avenue.
Sara Jane Schmidt has always been an active recitalist and she is a member and past coordinator of the Manitoba Piano Club. She was guest artist with the Mennonite Community Orchestra, performing Franz Liszt's Concerto in E-flat Major in 1989. She loves choral music, and has been involved as a church choir conductor and as an avid member of the Mennonite Festival Chorus, which has performed numerous times with conductors Bramwell Tovey, Robert Shaw and Helmuth Rilling, in both Winnipeg and Toronto. This choir gathered most recently to do George Frideric Handel's Israel In Egypt at Westminster Church.
Sara Jane Schmidt has lived in Winnipeg all her life. Along with her husband Rick, she really enjoys outdoor pursuits such as hiking and backpacking, cross-country skiing, and whitewater canoe tripping. She is also a competitive racquetball player (two-time winner of the provincial women's title). Her favourite leisure activities include gardening and reading. Their daughter is a fashion designer in Toronto, and their son is currently studying at Canadian Mennonite University.