Roberto Sierra

Composer Bio

For more than three decades the works of American composer Roberto Sierra have been part of the repertoire of many of the leading orchestras, ensembles and festivals in the USA and Europe. At the inaugural concert of the 2002 world renowned Proms in London, his Fandangos was performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra in a concert that was broadcast by both the BBC Radio and Television throughout the UK and Europe. Sierra’s numerous commissions include works for many of the major American and European orchestras. International ensembles that have performed his works include the orchestras of Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, New Mexico, Houston, Minnesota, Dallas, Detroit, San Antonio and Phoenix, as well as by the American Composers Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, National Symphony Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the Tonhalle Orchestra of Zurich, the Spanish orchestras of Madrid, Galicia, Castilla y León and Barcelona, among others.

Commissioned works include: Concerto for Orchestra for the centennial celebrations of the Philadelphia Orchestra commissioned by the Koussevitzky Music Foundation and the Philadelphia Orchestra; Concerto for Saxophones and Orchestra commissioned by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra for James Carter; Fandangos and Missa Latina commissioned by the National Symphony Orchestra of Washington DC; Sinfonía No. 3 “La Salsa”, commissioned by the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra; Danzas Concertantes for guitar and orchestra commissioned by the Orquesta de Castilla y León; Double Concerto for violin and viola co-commissioned by the Pittsburgh and Philadelphia Orchestras; Bongo+ commissioned by the Juilliard School in celebration of the 100th anniversary; Songs from the Diaspora commissioned by Music Accord for Heidi Grant Murphy, Kevin Murphy and the St. Lawrence String Quartet; and Concierto de Cámara co-commissioned by the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Chamber Music Northwest and Stanford Lively Arts.

In 2003, Sierra was honored by the American Academy of Arts and Letters for his “brilliant music, mixing fresh and personal melodic lines with sparkling harmonies and striking rhythms. . .” His Sinfonía No. 1, a work commissioned by the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, won the 2004 Kenneth Davenport Competition for Orchestral Works. In 2007 the Serge and Olga Koussevitzky International Recording Award (KIRA) was awarded to Albany Records for the recording of  Sierra’s Sinfonía No. 3 “La Salsa.” Sierra has served as Composer-in-Residence with the Milwaukee, Puerto Rico and New Mexico Symphonies and The Philadelphia Orchestra. In 2010 he was elected into the membership of the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

New Sierra works include the string trios Fuego de Angel for Music from Angel Fire and Trio No.4, “La noche,” written for the Arcos Trio.  The composer’s most recent work—Concierto para Órgano y Orquesta (Concerto for Organ & Orchestra)—premiered on July 6, 2012 in Nashville, at the 2012 American Guild of Organists (AGO) National Convention. Commissioned by the AGO, the new organ concerto was written for soloist Todd Wilson who was joined by the Nashville Symphony led by Sierra-champion Giancarlo Guerrero. Sierra’s next world premiere comes in December 2012, when the Detroit Symphony and soprano Heidi Grant Murphy present the Christmas Cantata, conducted by music director Leonard Slatkin.

Sierra’s music may be heard on CD’s by Naxos, EMI, New World Records, Albany Records, Koch, New Albion, Koss Classics, BMG, Fleur de Son and other labels. In the spring of 2004 EMI Classics released his two guitar concertos Folias and Concierto Barroco with Manuel Barrueco as soloist (released by Koch in the USA in 2005).

Born in Vega Baja, Puerto Rico (US), Sierra studied composition in both Puerto Rico and Europe. He attended the Hochschule für Musik in Hamburg, Germany, where he worked in the studio of György Ligeti. His music is principally published by Subito Music Corporation (ASCAP).