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Arlene Sierra makes CD debut

Arlene Sierra

Dr Sierra, Senior Lecturer in Composition at the School of Music

The first CD devoted to the music of Dr Arlene Sierra has been released to critical acclaim. The recording is the first of a new multi-volume series from Bridge Records focusing on the work of the young American composer.

Dr Sierra, Senior Lecturer in Composition at the School of Music, has been gaining worldwide recognition in recent years. Her debut CD, The Music of Arlene Sierra, Volume 1, opens with Cicada Shell, the 2006 piece described by the American Academy of Arts and Letters as “confidently announcing the arrival of a significant composer.”

Other pieces featured on the CD include Colmena (2008), Ballistae (2001), Birds and Insects, Book 1 (2007), Surrounded Ground (2008) and Two Neruda Odes (2004). These reflect the range of unusual sources Dr Sierra draws on for inspiration, such as game theory, blueprints for ancient weapons, Darwinian evolution, and historical and mythical conflicts.


Surrounded Ground and Cicada Shell build exciting musical structures from the military strategy of Sun Tzu, whilst Colmena is informed by studies of bee societies, conveying a modern sense of beauty in the natural world.

Dr Sierra’s works are brought to life by performances from some of the best musicians working today, including pianist Vassily Primakov, soprano Susan Narucki, the Daedalus Quartet and the International Contemporary Ensemble with conductor Jayce Ogren.

Released in May 2011, the CD has won rave reviews from The Guardian, NPR Classical, New Music Box, Musical Pointers, Fanfare Magazine, and Ontario’s Scene Magazine. It was also named Album of the Week by WQXR, New York’s classical music radio station.

Dr Sierra was one of the first composers to be commissioned by the New York Philharmonic in its opening season under Music Director Alan Gilbert in 2009, and other recent commissions include works for the Carducci Quartet and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. Fanfare Magazine will also be publishing a substantial interview with her in their November 2011 edition.

The Music of Arlene Sierra, Vol 1 is available now from Bridge Records, on Amazon and on iTunes.

Listen to clips from the CD atExternal link