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16 February 2009
An internationally renowned composer based in Cardiff has received a new commission from the New York Philharmonic Orchestra.
Dr Arlene Sierra, Lecturer in Composition at the School of Music, received the commission as part of a new venture called Contact, the New Music series of the New York Philharmonic. The series will feature the younger generation of international composers, described by the Orchestra’s Composer-in-Residence Magnus Lindberg as "voices of our time."
The commission is for chamber orchestra, a new genre for the Miami-born composer who has previously written for voices, chamber groups and large orchestra. Military strategy and game theory have influenced Dr Sierra’s recent works and are likely to inform her new piece as well.
Dr Sierra said: "Having attended many of their performances as a kid, it is a great honour and thrill to receive a commission from the New York Phil. This is something that I always hoped would happen, maybe by the time I was 60, so for it to happen while I’m in my thirties is just incredible."
Sierra’s new work for New York Philharmonic will have its premiere in New York in December 2009. Dr Sierra is also working on a piano concerto for the BBC National Orchestra of Wales which will have its first performance in 2010 in Hoddinott Hall, the Orchestra’s new home at the Wales Millennium Centre.
1n 2007 Dr Sierra received a $15,000 (£10,525) Charles Ives Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, awarded annually to composers of "exceptional gifts". In 2001 she was the first woman to win the Toru Takemitsu Prize for Orchestral Composition, one of the most prestigious international competitions for new orchestral music.
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Dr Sierra discusses her new commission from the New York Philharmonic Orchestra
Listen to an excerpt from "Aquilo", one of Dr Sierra’s compositions, performed by the Tokyo Philharmonic and conducted by Susanna Mälkki (2001).
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