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Sirota, Robert

Robert Sirota, born 1949, like a number of other distinguished American composers, has spent his professional life in striking a balance between teaching, administration, and composition.

Sirota was born in New York City on October 13, 1949, received his earliest training in composition at The Juilliard School, followed by undergraduate work leading to a Bachelor of Music degree in piano and composition from Oberlin Conservatory where he studied with (among others) Joseph Wood and Richard Hoffmann. His 1971 Thomas J. Watson Fellowship allowed him to study and concertize in Paris where his principal teacher of theory and composition was Nadia Boulanger. Returning to America, Sirota earned a Ph.D. from Harvard University under the tutelage of Earl Kim and Leon Kirchner.

His compositions, which have been performed in the United States and Europe, include three short operas and a full-length music theatre piece as well as orchestral, symphonic band, chamber and recital works. A particularly significant dimension of his output thus far has been his choral music and his many works involving the organ.

The multifaceted Sirota has also established an impressive track record for conducting. Specializing in contemporary music, he has led the premiere performances of dozens of new works.

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. He is a member of the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers and counts, among his awards, a First Prize in the Long Island Composers Alliance Competition and the Andrew White Medal from Loyola College (Baltimore).

Before becoming Director of The Johns Hopkins University's prestigious Peabody Institute (1995), Sirota has served as Chairman of the Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions at New York University and Director of Boston University's School of Music. In 2005, he was appointed president of the Manhattan School of Music in New York.

Instrumental music by Robert Sirota