Monday, June 9, 2008

Sphinx Commissioning Consortium Selects Composer Roberto Sierra for Inaugural Commission

June 9, 2008
Composer Roberto Sierra has been selected to compose the first work to be commissioned by the Sphinx Commissioning Consortium, an alliance between the Sphinx Organization and twelve American orchestras that seeks to build the repertoire of works by Black and Latino composers. The Sphinx Organization’s Founder and President, Aaron Dworkin, made the announcement on June 9. Sierra was chosen from among composers nominated for the commission by 12 orchestras and the Sphinx Organization. The Nashville Symphony nominated Sierra for the award.

Currently, works by Black and Latino composers account for less than one percent of the classical music performed by American orchestras each year. Through a partnership between major orchestras and the Sphinx Organization, the Sphinx Commissioning Consortium seeks to increase that number while adding to the orchestral repertoire.

Puerto Rican-born Roberto Sierra’s works have been part of the repertoire of many leading American and European orchestras, ensembles, and festivals. Awarded the Academy Award in Music by the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Sierra has served as Composer-in-Residence with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Puerto Rico Symphony, and the New Mexico Symphony. The Koussevitzky Music Foundation, Philadelphia Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra, Orquesta de Castilla y León, and the Julliard School have previously commissioned his works.

We are honored and excited to commission this piece by Roberto Sierra as the inaugural project of the Sphinx Commissioning Consortium,” said Aaron Dworkin. “Roberto will be the first in what I envision as a long line of talented composers of color whose work the SCC will support through this historic effort.”

The new work will be scored for full orchestra, and will be premiered during the 2009-2010 season by an orchestral member of the Consortium with subsequent performances by the remaining eleven Consortium orchestras that season.

The Sphinx Commissioning Consortium includes the Sphinx Organization and twelve American orchestras committed to building the orchestral repertoire of works by Black and Latino composers. Each member orchestra will contribute financially to the commission and will perform the new work following its premiere. The twelve member orchestras are the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Sinfonietta, our nation’s most diverse orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Grand Rapids Symphony, Nashville Symphony, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Richmond Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Virginia Symphony Orchestra, and the New World Symphony, America’s orchestral academy.

The Sphinx Commissioning is administered by the Sphinx Organization, the national non-profit arts and youth development organization dedicated to building diversity in classical music. [Aaron P. Dworkin is profiled among the Musicians of African Descent at]

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