Manhattan School of Music Names Robert Sirota Next President
In a unanimous vote, the Manhattan School of Music Board of Trustees named the distinguished American composer, Robert Sirota, the School's eighth president, effective October 2005. Sirota, who has been Director of Baltimore's Peabody Conservatory since 1995, will also become a member of the composition faculty.
With Sirota's appointment to succeed Marta Casals Istomin, the Manhattan School of Music upholds the tradition of composers who have led major American conservatories, perhaps begun with Antonin Dvorak's stewardship of the National Conservatory of Music of America in New York, and continued by such 20th century masters as William Schuman and Peter Mennin.
Sirota has also served as Chairman of the Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions at New York University and Director of Boston University's School of Music. He was born in New York City on October 15, 1949, received his earliest training in composition at The Juilliard School, followed by undergraduate work leading to a Bachelor of Music degree in piano and composition from Oberlin Conservatory. His 1971 Thomas J. Watson Fellowship allowed him to study and concertize in Paris where his principal teacher of theory and composition was Nadia Boulanger. Returning to America, Sirota earned a Ph.D. from Harvard University under the tutelage of Earl Kim and Leon Kirchner.
The recipient of many fellowships and awards, Sirota is a member of ASCAP and his works are published by Boelke-Bomart, Music Associates of New York, Theodore Presser, and MorningStar. He is married to the Rev. Victoria Sirota, who is an accomplished organist in addition to being a priest in the Episcopal Church. The Sirotas have two children, a son Jonah, who is a violist and a founding member of the Chiara String Quartet, and a daughter Nadia, who is completing her graduate studies in viola at Juilliard.