Violist Nadia Sirota has been named ‘a one-woman contemporary-classical commissioning machine’ (Pitchfork) and a ‘bold new-music interpreter and the violist of choice among downtown ensembles these days’ (The New York Times).
Sirota grew up in a musical family and knew from a young age that she wanted to be a musician, claiming ‘there was actually no point in my life when I wasn’t going to be a musician’. Though she struggled to choose her path and considered many different aspects of music such as composing, conducting, singing, piano, violin and viola. Sirota attended the Baltimore School of the arts on the violin, but with the help of her teacher, she switched from violin to viola. Much of the reason for this switch was her boredom with the repertoire, she felt that she was ‘playing allKreisler, all the time’. With the viola she could instead focus on another aspect of playing, including the ‘dark, brooding,Hindemith stuff’. She later studied for six years at the Julliard School in New York, obtaining an undergraduate and Master’s degree. There, she became acquainted with the composer Nico Muhly. As a student Sirota was often busy creating new projects. She was a co-founder of the AXIOM ensemble and created theJulliard Plays Julliard program for student composers and performers. She also initiated a New Music Project.
Nadia Sirota is always hungry for new works for the viola resulting in commissions from not only Nico Muhly but also Daníel Bjarnason, Valgeir Sigurðsson, Judd Greenstein, Marcos Balter, and Missy Mazzoli.
First Things First, her debut album was named record of the year by The New York Times and her second album Baroque was praised by the SPINMEdia website PopMatters as ‘beautiful music of a higher order than anything else you will hear this year’.
Sirota is also featured on composer Ryan Streber’s album Concentric on two works Compassinges(2007) for string quartet, electric guitar and voice and Dust Shelter(2005) for soprano, viola and cello.
Nadia admits that with the works she commissions, she doesn’t ‘have the burden of 250 years of performance practice it’s just whatever I want to do’. She’s a sometimes over the top performer that just plays the way she wants to play.
As a student, Sirota won the 2005 concerto composition at Julliard and had the opportunity to perform Hindemith’sDer Schwanendreher with the Julliard Orchestra under conductorMarin Alsop. In 2013 she won the Meadows Prize from Southern Methodist University, for artists and scholars with an emerging international profile.
Sirota has played with the Tanglewoord Music Festival and the Ecstatic Music festival. She has also collaborated as a chamber musician with artists such as Joseph Kalichstein, Itzhak Perlman, and the Silk Road Ensemble in addition to the Kronos and Chiara Quartets and the Peadbody Trio. Sirota has been a member of the faculty at the Manhattan School of Music since 2007.
Nadia is a member of numerous groups such as yMusic, Alarm Will Sound and the American Contemporary Music Ensemble. She is also active with radio music, and will premiere a concerto by Nico Muhly on the podcastMeet the Composer on Q2 Music. For her work in radio she received the 2010 ASCAP Deems Taylor Award in Radio and Internet Broadcasting.