Sierra: A Vibrant Work

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On October 21, world renowned saxophonist James Carter joins the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra to perform Roberto Sierra’s Concerto for Saxophones. Thomas Wilkins guest conducts. Commissioned by the Detroit Symphony, Sierra wrote the 23-minute concerto for Carter who premiered it in 2002 under the baton of then-music director Neeme Järvi. The concerto blends classical and jazz elements, and highlights Carter’s virtuosity on both the soprano and tenor saxophones.

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Conductor Thomas Wilkins; courtesy: Louisiana Philharmonic

Lisa LaFleur, Director of Artistic Programming at the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, shares some thoughts about programming Sierra’s concerto. “After I initially sent out some ideas to our guest conductor Thomas Wilkins, he immediately and enthusiastically suggested Sierra’s Concerto for Saxophones with guest artist James Carter. He [had] previously conducted this work with James [at] other orchestras. LPO’s programming committee embraces opportunities to perform music that may be unfamiliar to tSierra Con 4 Saxophones Score 2hem or [to] our audiences — it even seeks out opportunities to present excellent works by living composers. We also recognize that the saxophone is a historically [significant] solo instrument in New Orleans. So, we trusted Maestro Wilkins’ recommendation to program this vibrant work, and we [recognize] that the Latin and jazz elements of Sierra’s concerto will resonate deeply with our local community, including those who typically favor jazz over traditional symphonic music.”

More October events: on October 23, the Opus One chamber ensemble performs Sierra’s piano quartet Fuego de Angel in Cincinnati, OH, and on the 28th, the Spectrolite Ensemble play Tres Fantasias in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.