Sierra, Roberto

Photo courtesy of Roberto Sierra
Pianist, arranger and composer, Roberto Sierra, was born in Vega Baja, Puerto Rico. He demonstarted a great interest in music at an early age; teaching himself to play his sister’s piano.

Sierra’s formal training in music started at the Conservatorio de Música, in San Juan and then at the University of Puerto Rico. Following his training in Puerto Rico, Sierra went to Europe to study at the Royal College of Music, at the University of London and later the Music Institute in Utrecht.

Sierra completed his advanced studies in composition at the Hochschule für Musik in Hamburg in 1982, with the internationally famous composer Gyorgy Ligeti.

His studies in Europe completed, Sierra returned to his native Puerto Rico to assume to post of Director of Cultural Activitie at the University of Puerto Rico and than as Chancellor of the Conservatorio de Música, where his training began.

During this time, Sierra was also hard at work composing; making a name for himself internationally with compositions such as “Salsa para los vientos” which gained him first prize at the Budapest Spring Festival in 1983, and “Suite” which won first prize in the Alienor Harpsichord Competition. Later, in 1987, the very same Alienor Harpsichord Competition dedicated a concert to Sierra’s chamber music compositions, which was recorded and broadcast by the BBC.

In that year, Sierra’s firt orchestral work: “Júbilo”, was performed at New York’s Carnegie Hall by the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra which named Sierra their Resident Composer in 1989. Sierra went on to produce many works in Milwaukee, some recorded by the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and released on the Koss Classics label.

Sierra’s works have been performed by many other orchestras, including those in Philadelphia, Pittsburg, Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, New York, and the National Symphony Orchestra, in the United States. In other countries, his works have been performed by the Kronos Quartet, Continuum, and the BBC Orchestra. His works have also been featured at numerous music festivals including the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, the Casals Festival, the Festival de Lille Francés and the Germany Nueu Musik in Bonn.