Sierra: Victoria Prize-Winner

Roberto Sierra

Roberto Sierra rang in the New Year by being honored with the Tomás Luis de Victoria Prize — the highest award given in Spain to a composer of Spanish or Latin American descent.

Established in 1996 and awarded by the Society of Spanish Composers Foundation, the Victoria Prize recognizes a living composer “for his contribution to the enrichment of the musical life of the Ibero-American community throughout his professional career and through his work.” The international award committee cited Sierra for “the quality and variety of his work, which combines current techniques with the essence of Caribbean music and is a personal contribution to all genres of music.”

“Receiving this award,” Sierra shares, “has been a real surprise and somewhat overwhelming. I work in the privacy of my studio, composing works with the hope that someday they will be heard, without thinking of awards or audience applause…I’m very interested in expressing who I am [and] where I come from. I think my work reflects my cultural heritage, my ‘genetics’ as a composer…I’m not chasing [particular musical] fashions that very soon become as old as yesterday’s newspaper [stories]. Perhaps this translates into something that reflects integrity and a personal approach to [my] musical expression.”

The Tomás Luis de Victoria Prize, which also includes an award of €20,000, will be presented to Sierra in Madrid this spring. The ceremony will also feature a portrait concert of his music.

For more details about Sierra’s award, visit the Faculty/News page at Cornell University’s Department of Music.