Sirota to perform ‘New Works for Viola’ solo recital

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Sirota to perform ‘New Works for Viola’ solo recital

Violist and UNL faculty member Jonah Sirota will perform a recital titled "New Works for Viola" at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 22 in the Kimball Recital Hall.

Violist and UNL faculty member Jonah Sirota will perform a recital featuring composer Robert Sirota’s “Compendium de Lumine” at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 22 in the Kimball Recital Hall. The recital’s program, titled “New Works for Viola,” will also include the world premiere of Rodney Lister’s “Complicated Grief” and Damon Lee’s “Still Untitled for Viola and Digital Tanpura.”

Jonah Sirota is a violist of the Chiara String Quartet, now in its tenth year as the Hixson-Lied Artists-in-Residence. The concert will be the second concert live-streamed online from Kimball Recital Hall for the school’s new initiative to bring concerts to a worldwide audience. The videos are also available on the Glenn Korff School of Music YouTube channel after the performance date.

“This program features brand-new works by three composers who are close to me in some way,” Jonah Sirota said. “ As there is a strong tradition of using the dark tone of the viola for melancholic music, I have challenged each to write a piece for solo viola that is not an elegy. Each composer has approached this challenge in a totally unique way.”

“Compendium de Lumine” composer Robert Sirota is Jonah Sirota’s father and has composed several violist works for his children.

“Since he (Jonah) is truly a master of his instrument, I took this as an opportunity to push the boundaries of my technical expertise, seeking maximum variety of color and expression,” Robert Sirota said. The composition catalogues, in sound, the feel of the six different kinds of light.

Chiara String Quartet violist Jonah Sirota is known as a soloist and chamber musician of great range and depth. Since making his concerto debut with Alan Gilbert and the Juilliard Pre-College Symphony at the age of 17, he was third prizewinner in the 2006 Naumburg Viola Competition and won further concerto competitions at both Rice University and Juilliard School. A champion of new music, he has commissioned and premiered new viola works from Gabriela Lena Frank, Arthur Joseph McCaffrey and Alexis Bacon. He is also one-half of the improv and new music duo Mondegreen with organist Kurt Knecht. He has performed at the Marlboro, Norfolk, Yellow Barn and Aspen music festivals.

Jonah Sirota has studied with Martha Katz, Roberto Diaz and Samuel Rhodes. He graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Music degree from Rice University and then received both a Master of Music degree and an Artist Diploma in String Quartet Studies from the Juilliard School. He also studied aesthetic education and audience engagement at Juilliard with master teacher Eric Booth. In addition, he has written a travel blog for the Journal of the American Viola Society.

As a viola professor, Jonah Sirota specializes in highlighting awareness of the body-mind connection as it applies to technique and musicianship. He has used his own successful experiences in fighting performance-related injuries to help students fix injuries, reduce tension in their playing, reduce fear in their approach to performing and career and become engaging and engaged musicians and artists. Jonah Sirota plays on a copy of a 1755 Testore viola made by Gregg Alf of Ann Arbor, Mich., in 2009.

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