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Dr Arlene Sierra’s “Moler” with the Boston Symphony

17 October 2017

Arlene Sierra Boston Symphony Orchestra
Dr Arlene Sierra and the Boston Symphony Orchestra

A composition by Dr Arlene Sierra recently had its U.S. East Coast premiere in Boston.

‘Moler’, commissioned by the Seattle Symphony Orchestra in 2012, was selected by the Boston Symphony Orchestra as part of its 2017-18 subscription season and performed on the 5th, 6th and 7th of October at Boston Symphony Hall with Andris Nelsons conducting.

The nine-minute piece, the title of which means “to grind” in Spanish, was Dr Sierra’s first appearance with the orchestra. There were Open Rehearsal and Pre-performance events on October 5th and 6th, including interviews with Arlene Sierra by the orchestra’s Director of Program Publications, Robert Kitzinger.

After the Open Rehearsal, Dr Sierra also met with Boston-area composition students for a Question & Answer session about her music.

Arlene Sierra Moler Boston Symphony Orchestra

Reviews described the piece as ‘a spirited, polyrhythmic toe-tapper’ (, ‘An intriguing labyrinth of contrasting tonal colours and rhythms’ (Boston Globe), and ‘a dental-gnashing dreamscape, full of fraught ideas, dream-like but not at all restful’ (Boston Musical Intelligencer).

The final concert was broadcast live on WCRB Boston, the city’s classical music radio station.

‘Moler’ was recorded by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales for Dr Sierra’s orchestral disk Game of Attrition which was released in 2014 and nominated for a Latin Grammy for Best Contemporary Composition in the same year.

During the week, Dr Sierra also gave a seminar on her work to composition students and staff at the New England Conservatory, and recorded a podcast interview with Brian Bell of the Boston Symphony.

Listen to Dr Sierra discussing her piece with Brian Bell.

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