Whether structures from the natural world such as beehives or flocks of birds, or human-made maps of war game strategy, sturdy foundations ground the musical content of her works for orchestra, chamber ensemble, chorus, and opera. She uses these phenomena as inspirational stepping-stones, not to create a “story” for a composition, but rather as a way to harness raw musical materials and determine their eventual shape and progression. “If you look at the natural world,” Sierra explains, “You have predators, you have prey, you have plants, you have different living things all trying to find and keep their place and survive in relation to all these other things that have other goals. How does that relate to music? Well for me, it was a very interesting way of mapping relationships between different instruments.”
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