Arlene Sierra, commissioned by INTER/actions Festival of Interactive Electronic Music
About the commission
Arlene Sierra’s ‘Urban Birds’ brings together three international soloists in a tour de force for three pianos with electronics, sampled birdsong, and percussion. The new work will combine spectacle with refined classical keyboard artistry, juxtaposing harmony, rhythmic drive, and sounds from nature in a powerful and engaging way.
“I am delighted to be selected for the New Music Biennial to compose ‘Urban Birds’, a piece that juxtaposes natural and electronic sources in an extended pianistic sound world showcasing three formidable soloists. The work will engage musically with one of the central preoccupations of our time: Our relationship with the natural world.” Arlene Sierra
“The INTER/actions Festival of Interactive Electronic Music is proud to present the world premiere of Arlene Sierra’s ‘Urban Birds’. We are excited to bring together three acclaimed keyboard soloists Sarah Nicholls, Xenia Pestova and Kathleen Supove, combining acoustic piano, digital piano, electronics, percussion and sampled birdsong in an enticing mix.” INTER/actions
More about the composer
An American composer based in London, Arlene Sierra writes music that takes its impetus from rich sources including military strategy, Darwinian evolution and game theory. The Guardian describes her work as having “its own character, in which historical and contemporary influences are fused into a highly flexible and distinctive style”, while Time Out New York describes it as “spry, savage, sly and seductive.”
Performers include the Tokyo Philharmonic, the London Sinfonietta, New York City Opera VOX, ICE, Psappha, Lontano, the New Juilliard Ensemble, the Schubert Ensemble, and many others. Recent commissions include a piano concerto Art of War for the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Game of Attrition for the New York Philharmonic, a Cheltenham Festival commission Insects in Amber for the Carducci Quartet, and Moler for the Seattle Symphony.
Born in Miami to a family of New Yorkers, Arlene Sierra is a graduate of Oberlin College-Conservatory, Yale School of Music and the University of Michigan.
Dr Sierra is Senior Lecturer and Director of the MMus in Composition at Cardiff University School of Music.