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Arlene Sierra

2022 Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation Orchestral Commission Recipient

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Arlene Sierra’s LEAGUE COMMISSION WILL BE PREMIERED BY Detroit Symphony (DATE TBD).

An additional four orchestras will perform the work through the 2023-2024 season, part of a 30-orchestra consortium performing works by women composers commissioned by the League of American Orchestras with the generous support of the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation.


Arlene Sierra is a London-based American composer whose music is lauded for its “highly flexible and distinctive style” (The Guardian), ranging from “exquisiteness and restrained power” to “combative and utterly compelling” (Gramophone). Notable premieres include Nature Symphony “memorable for its creation of wonderful sounds from a large orchestra” (Bachtrack.com) commissioned by BBC Radio 3 and the BBC Philharmonic, Butterflies Remember a Mountain for the the Benedetti-Elschenbroich-Grynyuk Trio, described as “precisely and joyously imagined” (The Times), and a New York Philharmonic commission for chamber orchestra Game of Attrition, described by Time Out as “at turns spry, savage, sly and seductive… so enrapturing.” Sierra’s highly individual works have been nominated and awarded on several occasions, including the prestigious Takemitsu Prize, a Charles Ives Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, PRS Composers Fund and Women Make Music awards, and a Leverhulme Fellowship. Her orchestral showpiece Moler was nominated for a Latin GRAMMY for Best Contemporary Classical Composition.

Arlene Sierra’s music is the subject of a series of portrait recordings by the esteemed Bridge Records label. Born in Miami to a family of New Yorkers, she holds degrees from Oberlin, Yale, and the University of Michigan, and serves as Professor of Music Composition at Cardiff University. Current projects include Birds and Insects, Book 3, commissioned by the Barbican Centre for pianist Sarah Cahill, and Bird Symphony, commissioned by the Utah Symphony as part of Arlene Sierra’s role as Composer-in-Association with that orchestra.

More from Arlene


Photo Credits: Ian Phillips-McLaren

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