Classical pianist Sara Davis Buechner poses in Montreal, June 3, 2014, before a concert.
Photo Credit: Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press

U.S. transgender pianist found ‘salvation’ in Canada


As a male classical pianist, Sara Davis Buechner was praised and honored in her home country. She played with some of the most prestigious orchestras in the United States and was on the brink of a promising career.

But when she decided to come out publicly as a transgender woman in 1998, Buechner was shunned by the conservative concert scene in the U.S. and had a very hard time trying to make ends meet.

“It seemed like the skies were certainly open to a lot of big orchestras and that all just closed down. It was just gone,” recalled the 54 year-old.

Buechner decided to come to Canada, where “conductors and presenters were much more open.”

“They judged me on the music itself,” she said

In 2003, Buechner accepted an offer to teach at the University of British Columbia and headed for Vancouver, where she still lives with her wife.

“Canada was my salvation in many ways,” she said.

In spite of some invitations to perform in her native country, Buechner says she’s still frustrated she’s not entirely accepted in the U.S.

She wants to stand up and show people they don’t have to be afraid to be who they are. In 2012, she spoke before a standing committee on human rights in Ottawa. Last year, she told her story in an essay featured in the New York Times.

“I wonder and kind of hope that stories like that become more and more rare as the years go by, so that it’s not a huge deal when someone is transgender, when someone is gay, when someone is green,” Buechner said with a laugh.

Sara Davis Buechner will give a solo recital tonight at the Edmonton Recital Society, in Edmonton, Alberta.

With files from the Canadian Press.

External links:

Sara Davis Beuchner website


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2 comments on “U.S. transgender pianist found ‘salvation’ in Canada
  1. Avatar Andrey says:

    Glad Canada is such an open minded country. Coming from eastern europe, LGBTQ+ rights are pretty much non-existent there, which is upsetting…

  2. Avatar karrie falon says:

    I enjoy reading stories centered on the trans society. A post opp. Trans M/F i have and live in the life of all our challenges and hardships to good and fun times. No mater what the goverment says they can and will do for us in the trans society. There is a harsh reality no one takes a second to think about. That my friend is no Employer has got to hand you a job though you own every qualification they are seeking. Because there is many ways for them to tell you undiscrimuly they do not like what they see in front of them. I never ever said i am the prettiest doll in the package. but i will say i am extrealy good at what i do at word. However going to apply for a job even knowing the manager ect. ect. i was turned away said to me i was over experienced for the job. Even after being allowed to explain to them i did not seek any special favor or such and only needed employment.
    So inconclution it has no meaning at all what a government person says or does not say. People can and will discrimminate us no mater what just in no way of proving.