Arlene Sierra

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Arlene Sierra (born Miami, 1970) is an American composer working in the United Kingdom. She studied at Oberlin College, Yale University and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, receiving a DMA in 1999; among her principal teachers were Martin Bresnick, Michael Daugherty and Jacob Druckman. A composition fellow at the Britten-Pears School (Aldeburgh Festival) in 2000 and Tanglewood in 2001, teachers included Louis Andriessen, Oliver Knussen, Magnus Lindberg, and Colin Matthews. She also worked with Judith Weir at the Dartington International Summer School in 1999, Paul Heinz Dittrich in Berlin in 1997-8, and Betsy Jolas and Dominique Troncin at The American Conservatory of Fontainebleau Schools in 1993.

Her music has been commissioned by organizations including the Seattle Symphony,[1] Tanglewood Music Festival,[2] the New York Philharmonic,[3] the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival,[4] the Albany Symphony, the Cheltenham International Festival, the Jerome, PRS and Cheswatyr Foundations, and the Ralph Vaughan Williams Trust. Performers of her work have included New York City Opera VOX, the American Composers Orchestra, the London Sinfonietta, the New Music Players, Psappha, the International Contemporary Ensemble, Chroma, the Schubert Ensemble, the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, and the Tokyo Philharmonic. In 2001, she was the first woman to win the Takemitsu Prize;[5] in 2007 she received a Charles Ives Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters[6] with a citation for music, "by turns, urgent, poetic, evocative and witty." In 2011, a debut CD was released by Bridge Records: Arlene Sierra, Volume 1[7] [8] and she was named Composer of the Year by the Classical Recording Foundation.

Sierra was a Composition Tutor at Cambridge University in 2003-4 before joining Cardiff University School of Music as Lecturer in Composition in 2004. She was promoted to Senior Lecturer and became Director of the MMus in Composition at Cardiff in 2010. She lives in London and is married to British composer Kenneth Hesketh.

Her music is published exclusively by Cecilian Music (ASCAP).


Arlene Sierra's works include the following:

  • Moler for Orchestra (2012)
  • Meditation on Violence chamber ensemble score to the Maya Deren film (2012)
  • Faustine Opera in one act for Five Singers and Orchestra (2011-)
  • Art of War Concerto for Piano and Orchestra (2010)
  • Insects in Amber String Quartet (2010)
  • Game of Attrition for Chamber Orchestra (2009)
  • Colmena for 14 Players (2008)
  • Surrounded Ground for Sextet (2008)
  • Hearing Things for Soprano and Piano (2008)
  • Streets and Rivers for Baritone and Piano (2007)
  • Birds and Insects, Book 1 Piano Solo (2007)
  • Cicada Shell for Septet (2006)
  • The Art of Lightness Flute Solo (2006)
  • A Conflict of Opposites for Violin or Clarinet and Piano (2005)
  • Neruda Settings for Soprano and Chamber Ensemble (2002-5)
  • Two Neruda Odes for Soprano, Cello and Piano (2004)
  • Truel for Piano Trio or Clarinet Trio (2004)
  • Counting-Out Rhyme for Cello and Piano (2002)
  • Tiffany Windows for 12 players (2002)
  • Hand Mit Ringen for Soprano and Trio (2002)
  • Aquilo for Orchestra (2001)
  • Alike Dissolving for SATB, Children's Choir and String Orchestra (2001)
  • Ballistae for 13 Players (2001)
  • Aquae for Orchestra (2000)
  • Mantegna Diptych for Orchestra (2000)
  • Alleluya (Bitter-Sweet) for four men's voices or SATB Chorus (2000)
  • Harrow-Lines for Quintet (1999)
  • Two Etudes After Mantegna Cello Solo (1998)
  • of Risk and Memory for Two Pianos (1997)
  • Three Descriptions for Soprano and Piano (1997)
  • Dedication and Dance Trombone Concerto for Orchestra or Symphonic Winds (1994, revised 2003)
  • Four Love Songs for Viola and Piano (1993)
  • Duo for Violoncelli (1993)

Articles and interviews[edit]

External links[edit]


  2. ^ Oestreich, James, A First and a Finale, Along With A Birthday, New York Times 23 July 2002 [2]
  3. ^ Rogers, Madeline, Contact! - Present at the Creation [3], Playbill, 16 Dec 2009
  4. ^ Fanning, David, Paean to a Great Dane,[4], Daily Telegraph, 27 Nov 2002
  5. ^ Takemitsu Award results, 2001
  6. ^ American Academy of Arts and Letters Press Release, Music, 2007
  7. ^ Quinn, Michael, Bridge Records to launch series dedicated to music by Arlene Sierra,, 5 April 2011 [5]
  8. ^ Clements, Andrew, Sierra: Cicada Shell; Birds and Insects Book 1; Surrounded Ground, etc – review, The Guardian, 14 July 2011[6]