On Sunday, October 13, 2019 at 2pm, composer Robert Sirota celebrates his 70th birthday with Sirota@70, a concert featuring an all-star lineup performing a selection of his chamber works at Merkin Hall (129 W 67th Street). Click here for details and tickets.
Over his fifty-year career, Sirota has developed a distinctive voice, clearly discernible in all of his work – whether symphonic, choral, stage, or chamber music. Writing in the Portland Press Herald, Allan Kozinn asserts: “Sirota’s musical language is personal and undogmatic, in the sense that instead of aligning himself with any of the competing contemporary styles, he follows his own internal musical compass.”
Sirota’s musical family joins him for a performance of Constellations (2012), which will be the first time all four Sirotas (children Nadia Sirota & Jonah Sirota, violas; wife Victoria Sirota, celesta; Robert Sirota, piano) have performed together on stage since 2012, when this piece was premiered at Manhattan School of Music.
Elegy for a Lost World (2017), written for Jonah Sirota’s debut solo album, Strong Sad, will be performed with pianist Molly Morkoski. Sirota’s self-proclaimed “confessional piece,” A Sinner’s Diary (2005/6), is a series of nine brief pieces for mixed ensemble. Each began as a reflection of his inner life on a given day, but, “evolved into a kind of conversation between my inner demons and the angels of my better nature."
yMusic and pianist Timo Andres present the New York premiere of Luminous Bodies (2018). The title has multiple meanings, most explicitly referring to five composers, “who are significant in my own life and music, and after whom each of the work’s five movements are named: George, Lili, Aaron, Fanny, Lenny. That is, Gershwin, Boulanger, Copland, Hensel, and Bernstein,” Sirota explains. “Each of these great souls has had a deep influence on my life and work. I think of each movement as not so much an homage or portrait but an offering – a conversation that I am having with each composer in turn.” Epimetheus (2015), a frenetic encore composed for yMusic, closes the performance.
Performers for this Sirota@70 concert include yMusic (Rob Moose, violin; Nadia Sirota, viola; Gabriel Cabezas, cello; Alex Sopp; flute; Hideaki Aomori, clarinet; C.J. Camerieri, trumpet and horn). Jonah Sirota, viola; Victoria Sirota, celesta; Robert Sirota, piano; Timo Andres, piano; Molly Morkoski, piano; Chris Thompson, percussion.
Throughout the 19-20 season, Sirota continues the Sirota@70 celebration with performances, premieres, and residencies around the country and abroad. Commissions include Job Fragments for baritone Thomas Pellaton, cello, and piano with text adapted from the Book of Job; Dancing With the Angels for flute, viola, and harp, for Carol Wincenc; Blackbird Singing, for flute, clarinet and piano, based on the Lennon/McCartney song, for Linda Chesis and the Cooperstown Summer Music Festival; and Contrapassos with libretto by Stevan Cavalier for string quartet and soprano, for the Sierra Chamber Society. Residencies and composer forums include Singapore’s Yong Siew Toh Conservatory, among others.