An American composer based in London, Arlene Sierra is acclaimed for vivid, darkly energetic music that takes its impetus from rich sources including military strategy, Darwinian evolution, and game theory. Described by Time Out New York as "spry, savage, sly and seductive" and by The Guardian (UK) as "rewardingly knotty… the most distinctive and expressive of the evening," her works have been heard worldwide in performances by the Tokyo Philharmonic, the London Sinfonietta, New York City Opera VOX, ICE, Psappha, the Albany Symphony, Lontano, Collage New Music, the Schubert Ensemble and many others. Recent compositions include a piano concerto Art of War for the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, a Cheltenham Festival commission Insects in Amber for the Carducci Quartet, and a New York Philharmonic commission for chamber orchestra, Game of Attrition.

Sierra gained international recognition with her first score for large orchestra,
Aquilo, which was awarded the Takemitsu Prize at the behest of Oliver Knussen.  She has been the subject of a Composer Portrait series concert at the Miller Theatre, New York (2009), Spotlight on: Arlene Sierra, an hour-long show and podcast on New York Public Radio (2006/7), and a Showcase concert at the Crush Room, Royal Opera House, London (2007).  Awards include a Charles Ives Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Tanglewood Paul Jacobs Award commission, and numerous fellowships including Aspen, Aldeburgh Britten-Pears, and the MacDowell Colony.

Her debut CD with Bridge Records,
Arlene Sierra Vol. 1, is the first of a new series produced with major funding from the Aaron Copland Fund for Music, the Ditson Fund at Columbia University, and the Classical Recording Foundation. Featuring works from Sierra’s Miller Portrait, performers on the disc include soprano Susan Narucki, the Daedalus Quartet, pianist Vassily Primakov, and the International Contemporary Ensemble, Jayce Ogren conductor. Early critical notice for the May 2011 release from Musical Pointers describes "…music of distinct originality and personality, played and recorded to highest standards. The ensemble music is complex but always clear, and one feels that every note is placed with intention. A strong recommendation."

Sierra's opera-in-progress
Faustine has been developed with support from Aldeburgh Young Artist Residencies, ROH2 at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and the American Music Center CAP program. It was showcased by New York City Opera at VOX 2011 and acclaimed by Musical America as "the most musically adventurous, tightly constructed and dramatically sound of the works-in-progress on offer. Sierra’s musical language encompasses both acerbic dissonance where the plot requires it and, elsewhere, supple melodies of considerable sweep. …the Vox reading suggested that Arlene Sierra and librettist Lucy Thurber are well on the way toward crafting a memorable new opera."

A graduate of Oberlin (B.A., B.Mus.), Yale (M.Mus.) and University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (D.Mus.), Arlene Sierra’s principal teachers were Martin Bresnick, Michael Daugherty and Jacob Druckman.  As a fellow at Tanglewood, Aldeburgh, and Dartington she worked with Louis Andriessen, Magnus Lindberg, Colin Matthews,  and Judith Weir.  Dr. Sierra is currently Senior Lecturer and Programme Director in Composition at Cardiff University School of Music.