• Arlene Sierra, Composer

    Arlene Sierra is a London-based American composer whose music is lauded for its “highly flexible and distinctive style” (The Guardian), ranging from “exquisiteness and restrained power” to “combative and utterly compelling” (Gramophone). Notable premieres include Nature Symphony “memorable for its creation of wonderful sounds from a large orchestra” (Bachtrack.com) commissioned by BBC Radio 3 and the BBC Philharmonic, Butterflies Remember a Mountain for the the Benedetti-Elschenbroich-Grynyuk Trio, described as “precisely and joyously imagined” (The Times, London) and performed in venues including the Concertgebouw and the BBC Proms, and a New York Philharmonic commission for chamber orchestra Game of Attrition, described by Time Out as “at turns spry, savage, sly and seductive… so enrapturing.” Sierra’s highly individual works have been nominated and awarded on several occasions, having garnered her the prestigious Toru Takemitsu Composition Prize, a Charles Ives Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, PRS Composers Fund and Women Make Music awards, and a Leverhulme Fellowship. Her orchestral showpiece Moler was nominated for a Latin GRAMMY for Best Contemporary Classical Composition.

    Arlene Sierra has composed works for the Tanglewood, Cheltenham, and Huddersfield Music Festivals, the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, the Bremen Philharmonic Society, the Carducci Quartet, Lontano, Psappha, International Contemporary Ensemble, the Albany Symphony, and the Seattle Symphony. She has worked with conductors including Andris Nelsons, Susanna Mälkki, Oliver Knussen, Jac Van Steen, Shiyeon Sung, Odaline de la Martinez, Jayce Ogren, Grant Llewellyn, Stefan Asbury, and Ludovic Morlot; with ensembles including the Tokyo Philharmonic, London Sinfonietta, Boston Symphony, Alabama Symphony, Österreichisches Ensemble für neue Musik, Chroma, and New York City Opera VOX. Current projects include Birds and Insects, Book 3, commissioned by the Barbican Centre for pianist Sarah Cahill, and Bird Symphony, commissioned by the Utah Symphony as part of Sierra’s role as Composer-in-Association with that orchestra.

    Her music is the subject of a series of portrait recordings by the esteemed Bridge Records label. Arlene Sierra, Vol. 1, recorded by the International Contemporary Ensemble, received rave reviews internationally and was featured by NPR Classical, which described its “remarkable brilliance of colour, rhythmic dexterity and playfulness.” The orchestral disc Game of Attrition: Arlene Sierra, Vol. 2 has been praised for “vividly scored, colorful works” by The New York Times and described by The Guardian as “remarkably sure-footed… quirky and individual” and “startlingly fresh and assured.” Gramophone Magazine has described Sierra’s latest release Butterflies Remember a Mountain - Arlene Sierra, Vol. 3 as “a wonderful chamber music issue that enthrals from first bar to last.” Other labels representing Sierra’s work include NMC, New Focus Recordings, and Coviello Classics.

    Declared “a name to watch” by BBC Music Magazine, Arlene Sierra has been featured in portrait concerts at the Crush Room, Royal Opera House, London, the Yellow Barn Chamber Music Festival, Vermont, Composers Now New York, and the Composer Portraits Series at NYC's Miller Theatre, among others. Further performance venues for her work have ranged from Abravanel Hall to Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in the U.S., to Germany’s Alte Oper Frankfurt and the Louvre, Paris, from St Moritz in Switzerland to the Aldeburgh Festival in the U.K.

    Born in Miami to a family of New Yorkers, Arlene Sierra holds degrees from Oberlin College-Conservatory, Yale School of Music, and the University of Michigan. An engaging speaker on composition and contemporary music, invited lectures and presentations include Oxford, Cambridge, New England Conservatory, Eastman Conservatory, New York University, Universität Mozarteum Salzburg, and Yonsei and Ewha Universities (South Korea). She currently serves as Professor of Music Composition at Cardiff University School of Music.

  • Arlene Sierra, Composer

    Arlene Sierra is a London-based American composer whose music is lauded for its “highly flexible and distinctive style” (The Guardian), ranging from “exquisiteness and restrained power” to “combative and utterly compelling” (Gramophone). Notable premieres include Nature Symphony “memorable for its creation of wonderful sounds from a large orchestra” (Bachtrack.com) commissioned by BBC Radio 3 and the BBC Philharmonic, Butterflies Remember a Mountain for the the Benedetti-Elschenbroich-Grynyuk Trio, described as “precisely and joyously imagined” (The Times, London) and performed in venues including the Concertgebouw and the BBC Proms, and a New York Philharmonic commission for chamber orchestra Game of Attrition, described by Time Out as “at turns spry, savage, sly and seductive… so enrapturing.” Sierra’s highly individual works have been nominated and awarded on several occasions, having garnered her the prestigious Toru Takemitsu Composition Prize (for the orchestral work Aquilo), a Charles Ives Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, PRS Composers Fund and Women Make Music awards, and a Leverhulme Fellowship. Her orchestral showpiece Moler was nominated for a Latin GRAMMY for Best Contemporary Classical Composition.

    Arlene Sierra has composed works for the Tanglewood, Cheltenham, and Huddersfield Music Festivals, the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, the Bremen Philharmonic Society, the Carducci Quartet, Lontano, Psappha, International Contemporary Ensemble, the Albany Symphony, and the Seattle Symphony. She has worked with conductors including Andris Nelsons, Susanna Mälkki, Oliver Knussen, Jac Van Steen, Shiyeon Sung, Odaline de la Martinez, Jayce Ogren, Grant Llewellyn, Stefan Asbury, and Ludovic Morlot; with ensembles including the Tokyo Philharmonic, London Sinfonietta, Boston Symphony, Alabama Symphony, Österreichisches Ensemble für neue Musik, Alterity Ensemble, Great Noise Ensemble, Riot Ensemble, New Music Players, New Juilliard Ensemble, Chroma, the Fidelio, Gemini, and Horszowski trios, and New York City Opera VOX. Soloists include Claire Booth (soprano), Wendy Richman (viola), Zoe Martlew (cello), Robin Michael (cello), Rowland Sutherland (flute), Eric Lamb (flute), and pianists Clare Hammond, Marilyn Nonken, Xenia Pestova, Kathleen Supové, and Huw Watkins. Current projects include Birds and Insects, Book 3, commissioned by the Barbican Centre for pianist Sarah Cahill, and Bird Symphony, commissioned by the Utah Symphony as part of Sierra’s role as Composer-in-Association with that orchestra.

    Her music is the subject of a series of portrait recordings by the esteemed Bridge Records label. Arlene Sierra, Vol. 1, recorded by the International Contemporary Ensemble, received rave reviews internationally and was featured by NPR Classical, which described its “remarkable brilliance of colour, rhythmic dexterity and playfulness.” The orchestral disc Game of Attrition: Arlene Sierra, Vol. 2 has been praised for “vividly scored, colorful works” by The New York Times and described by The Guardian as “remarkably sure-footed… quirky and individual” and “startlingly fresh and assured.” Gramophone Magazine has described Sierra’s latest release Butterflies Remember a Mountain - Arlene Sierra, Vol. 3 as “a wonderful chamber music issue that enthrals from first bar to last.” Other labels representing Sierra’s work include NMC, New Focus Recordings, and Coviello Classics.

    Declared “a name to watch” by BBC Music Magazine, Arlene Sierra has been featured in portrait concerts at the Crush Room, Royal Opera House, London, the Yellow Barn Chamber Music Festival, Vermont, Composers Now New York, and the Composer Portraits Series at NYC's Miller Theatre, among others. Further performance venues for her work have ranged from Abravanel Hall to Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in the U.S., to Germany’s Alte Oper Frankfurt and the Louvre, Paris, from St Moritz in Switzerland to the Aldeburgh Festival in the U.K.

    Born in Miami to a family of New Yorkers, Arlene Sierra holds degrees from Oberlin College-Conservatory (B.A./B.Mus), Yale School of Music (M.Mus), and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (D.Mus.) where she held a Merit Fellowship. Her principal teachers were Martin Bresnick, Michael Daugherty, and Jacob Druckman; she worked with Betsy Jolas and Dominique Troncin at Fontainebleau, and Paul-Heinz Dittrich in Berlin. At Tanglewood, Aldeburgh, and Dartington she studied with Louis Andriessen, Magnus Lindberg, Colin Matthews, and Judith Weir. An engaging speaker on composition and contemporary music, invited lectures and presentations include Oxford University, Cambridge University, New England Conservatory, Eastman Conservatory, New York University, Universität Mozarteum Salzburg, and Yonsei and Ewha Universities (South Korea). Artist residencies and fellowships include Aspen, Aldeburgh Britten-Pears, the Otto Eckstein Fellowship at Tanglewood, and the MacDowell Colony.

    Arlene Sierra currently serves as Professor of Music Composition at Cardiff University School of Music. She lives in London with her husband, British composer Kenneth Hesketh, and their son Elliott.