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A collaboration with the Utah Symphony Orchestra

13 December 2021

Professor Arlene Sierra posing for a photo

Professor Arlene Sierra returns from first visit to Salt Lake City as Composer-in-Association with the Utah Symphony Orchestra.

Arlene Sierra, professor from the School of Music and appointed Composer-In-Association with the Utah Symphony Orchestra has returned from her trip to Salt Lake City which commenced in November. Whilst in Utah she collaborated with the orchestra for a performance and worked within the community based around classical music composition.

The visit was made possible by Professor Sierra’s appointment as a Composer-in-Association with the Utah Symphony Orchestra. Over the 2021-2022 season, she will make three visits to Salt Lake City for rehearsals and performances of her music, as well as a number of outreach projects in the community and lectures at local universities.

On her initial visit to Utah in November, the Utah Symphony performed the US premiere of Professor Sierra’s very first orchestral composition 'Aquilo' at the Abravanel Hall in a concert conducted by South Korean conductor Shiyeon Sung. 'Aquilo' won the prestigious Takemitsu Prize in 2001 and has had several international performances and a recording since, but this was the first performance in the composer’s home country.

As Composer-in-Association, Sierra’s role is a significant one in the community as well. On her recent trip, Sierra worked across Salt Lake City as an ambassador for new music. She lectured at three universities, gave masterclasses for university composers, met with high school composers connected to youth orchestras in the area and led a workshop with school children in a local El Sistema music programme.

She also had the opportunity to work with the Utah Youth Symphony and Utah Youth Philharmonic on a new piece, 'Butterfly House', an extract from her ‘‘Nature Symphony’’ specially tailored for young musicians.

Over planned visits for Spring 2022, esteemed Swiss conductor Thierry Fischer will lead the U.S. premiere of 'Nature Symphony' (a BBC Philharmonic / Radio Three commission) and the world premiere of ‘’Bird Symphony’’ – a new Utah Symphony commission.

After being awarded a 2020 Leverhulme Research Fellowship for her 'Orchestral Ecologies' composition project, Professor Arlene Sierra has been on a two-year sabbatical from teaching at Cardiff University in order to devote all of her time to symphonic composition and a new recording with Bridge Records.

“My recent visit to the Utah Symphony and its thriving community was a total joy and inspiration, especially after a long period of composing in relative isolation, missing so many live performances thanks to the pandemic. I am looking forward to my next visits with eager anticipation!”

Professor Arlene Sierra Professor of Music Composition

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