Robert Sirota’s Ecstatic Sunrise To Premiere at Weill Recital Hall 11/2

Robert Sirota’s Ecstatic Sunrise To Premiere at Weill Recital Hall 11/2

On Wednesday, November 2, 2011 at 8pm, composer Robert Sirota's Ecstatic Sunrise will receive its world premiere at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall by members of the Catholic University of America Symphony Orchestra, David Searle, conductor. The eclectic program also includes works by Handel, Mozart, Prokofiev and Vanhal, and is presented by the La Gesse Foundation.

About his new work, Robert Sirota writes: "Ecstatic Sunrise is inspired by a huge, vibrant 1916 mural by Edvard Munch entitled The Sun, which is the backdrop for the stage in the concert hall of the University Aula in Oslo, Norway. Some images are so fantastic and compelling that they are firmly emblazoned in your consciousness. Back in 1972 I gave a piano recital at the University Aula. Munch's The Sun literally upstages artists on the platform, and I remember having to avoid looking to my left as I was performing, so as not to be dazzled by its luminescence. Ecstatic Sunrise is an attempt to capture some of the manic joy of that image. I also envision it as the middle movement of projected work for string quartet/string orchestra that I am planning as a light-suffused companion to my dark and mournful 2002 string quartet Triptych."

The La Gesse Foundation, which is presenting this world premiere, was established by Princess Cecilia de Medici in 1981. The non-profit organization supports young artists and commissions new works from composers, presented on programs at Carnegie Hall as well as in Europe.

Upcoming performances of Sirota's music include the world premiere of a new work commemorating the 30th Anniversary of the installation of the historic Appleton Organ at The Metropolitan Museum, and the New York premiere of his chamber opera The Clever Mistress as part of The Cutting Edge Concerts New Music Festival at Symphony Space, both in April; as well as the world premiere of Iscariot, an opera in two acts, at Trinity Wall Street Church in May.

Robert Sirota's work has been performed throughout the United States and Europe, at venues including Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall, Merkin Hall in New York, The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Tanglewood Music Center, the Aspen Music Festival, the Yellow Barn Music Festival, Benaroya Hall in Seattle, and at The Juilliard School, the Shepherd School of Music, Peabody, Oberlin Conservatory, Yong Siew Toh Conservatory in Singapore, Royal Conservatory in Toronto, and the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow. His commissions include works for the Empire Brass, American Guild of Organists, the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, the Seattle Symphony, the Fischer Duo, the Peabody Trio, the Webster Trio, and the Chiara String Quartet.

Robert Sirota's catalogue comprises three short operas, a full-length music theatre piece, as well as orchestral, symphonic band, chamber and recital works. His 1999 work for organ and orchestra, In the Fullness of Time, has been performed several times by the Seattle Symphony, as well as by the Lincoln Symphony in Nebraska, the Meridian Symphony in Mississippi, and the Oberlin Orchestra. His chamber music has entered the repertoire of several leading ensembles: Triptych (2002) - which commemorates the victims of September 11th and is inspired by the visual art of Deborah Patterson - is often played by the Chiara and American String Quartets; his Piano Trio (1998) has been performed multiple times by the Peabody Trio, the Concord Trio, and many others; and A Sinner's Diary for flute, two violas, cello, percussion and piano, completed in 2005, has already received several performances. His music has been recorded by the Fischer Duo for the Gasparo label, and by the Chiara String Quartet for their New Voice Singles series.

In recent years, Robert Sirota has composed several works for orchestra in addition to In the Fullness of Time, A Rush of Wings, and 212, including Meridians (2006) and Epiphanies for string quartet and orchestra (2006). Mr. Sirota's music for chorus and for organ has also been widely performed, most notably Mass (1990) for chorus, soloists, organ and percussion; The Passion of Jesus Christ (1998), a visual oratorio for soloists, chorus, organ, piano and percussion; Celestial Wind (1987) for organ; and Easter Canticles (1993) for cello and organ. Mr. Sirota's children's opera in one act, The Tailor of Gloucester (1987) is based on the story by Beatrix Potter and has been produced by companies throughout the country.

Robert Sirota has received grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, the United States Information Agency, the National Endowment for the Arts, Meet The Composer, and the American Music Center. Among his awards are a First Prize in the Long Island Composers Alliance Competition and the Andrew White Medal from Loyola College in Baltimore.

A native New Yorker, Mr. Sirota received his earliest compositional training at The Juilliard School, and received his bachelor's degree in piano and composition from Oberlin Conservatory where he studied with Joseph Wood and Richard Hoffman. A Thomas J. Watson Fellowship allowed him to study and concertize in Paris, where his principal teacher was Nadia Boulanger. Returning to America, Mr. Sirota earned a Ph.D. from Harvard University, studying with Earl Kim and Leon Kirchner. In 2005, Mr. Sirota was appointed president of the Manhattan School of Music in New York, where he is also a member of the School's composition faculty.

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