Jonah Sirota
Status: Member
Member Since: June 30, 2013
Last Visit:December 11, 2015
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Jonah Sirota

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 prize-winner in the 2006 Naumburg Viola Competition, and won further concerto competitions at both Rice University and at the Juilliard School. A champion of new music, he has commissioned and premiered new viola works from Gabriela Lena Frank, Arthur Joseph McCaffrey, Alexis Bacon, Damon Thomas Lee, Rodney Lister, and Robert Sirota. He is one half of the new music improv duo Mondegreen, along with organist/composer Kurt Knecht. He has performed at the Marlboro, Norfolk, Yellow Barn, and Aspen music festivals.

Mr. Sirota is the violist of the Chiara String Quartet, with whom he has performed in major venues throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. The Chiara Quartet's recent recording of the Brahms quartets played entirely by memory (Brahms by Heart) received rave reviews, and was written up in a feature piece for the New York Times. The quartet's performance of Jefferson Friedman String Quartet No. 3 on the New Amsterdam label was nominated for a Grammy for Best Contemporary Classical Composition in 2011. The quartet is currently performing the cycle of all six Bartok string quartets completely by heart, and is recording them for release on Azica Records in the spring of 2016. With the Chiara Quartet, Mr. Sirota was Blodgett Artist-in-Residence at Harvard University from 2008 to 2014.

Mr. Sirota teaches viola and chamber music at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Glenn Korff School of Music, where the Chiara Quartet serves as Hixson-Lied Artists-in-Residence. He also teaches at the Greenwood Music Camp, as well as in masterclasses and festivals throughout the country. As a viola professor, Mr. 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.

Mr. Sirota has studied with Martha Katz, Roberto Diaz, and Samuel Rhodes, among others. 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. Mr. Sirota plays on a copy of a 1755 Testore viola made by Gregg Alf of Ann Arbor, Michigan in 2009.

Blog Posts

2015: Mar. Nov.

2013: Jun.