Nadia Sirota

Meadows Prize Preview

Hailed by The New York Times as “a bold new-music interpreter and the violist of choice among downtown ensembles these days,” violist Nadia Sirota has been praised for her “command and eloquence” (Boston Globe) and for being one of New York’s “brightest, busiest players” (Time Out New York). She is best known for her unique interpretations of new scores and for commissioning and premiering works by some of the most talented composers of her generation, including Marcos Balter, Caleb Burhans, Judd Greenstein, Missy Mazzoli and Nico Muhly. Her debut album, First Things First (New Amsterdam Records), “a collection of vital, imaginative recent scores” (New York Times), was a New York Times 2009 record of the year. A regular guest with such groups as the Meredith Monk Ensemble, Alarm Will Sound and Continuum, she is a founding member of ACME (the American Contemporary Music Ensemble), yMusic and the Wordless Music Orchestra.

In addition to performing classical concert music, Sirota has performed with such songwriters and bands as Max Richter, Jóhann Jóhannsson, Stars of the Lid, The Swell Season, Sam Amidon, Doveman, Bryce Dessner, Gabriel Kahane, Ben Frost and Valgeir Sigurðsson, and can be heard on new and recent albums by Grizzly Bear, Jónsi, The National, Ratatat, Doveman and My Brightest Diamond, and on Arcade Fire’s Grammy-winning album The Suburbs.

She received her undergraduate and master’s degrees from The Juilliard School, where she performed as co-founder of the AXIOM ensemble, initiated the Castleman/Amory/Huang studio’s New Music Project, and created the “Juilliard Plays Juilliard” program for student composers and performers. After winning the top prize in Juilliard’s 2005 concerto competition, she performed Hindemith’s Der Schwanendreher with conductor Marin Alsop and the Juilliard Orchestra in Alice Tully Hall. As a chamber musician, Sirota has collaborated with such artists as Joseph Kalichstein, Itzhak Perlman and the Silk Road Ensemble, as well as with members of Kronos Quartet, the Chiara Quartet and the Peabody Trio. In fall 2007, she joined the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music for its new master’s degree program in contemporary music performance.

Sirota has performed in-studio for Late Night with Conan O’Brien, NPR’s Morning Edition, BBC Radio 3, CBS Morning Edition and A&E Breakfast with the Arts. Up to August 2012, she hosted “Nadia Sirota on Q2,” a four-hour daily program devoted to contemporary music on WQXR’s Internet radio stream Q2. Prior to that she hosted Overnight Music on WNYC and WQXR. Overnight Music was awarded an ASCAP Deems Taylor Award for Radio and Internet Broadcast in 2010, and was described by Alex Ross of The New Yorker as “radio we can believe in.”