Arlene Sierra's new trio 'Butterflies Remember a Mountain' was given a world premiere and two subsequent performances in Germany in November, Bremen 'Die Glocke', Frankfurt Alte Oper, and Stadthalle Reutlingen; to critical acclaim:

The 'crack' group at the 3rd Philharmonic Chamber concert in the chamber hall of Die Glocke was a piano trio with the already established musicians Nicola Benedetti (violin), Leonard Elschenbroich (cello) and Alexei Grynyuk (piano).
One experienced better harmony in the premiere of the Piano Trio "Butterflies Remember A Mountain" by American composer Arlene Sierra, a work commissioned by  the Bremen Philharmonic Society. This beautiful work ranges between impressionistic harmonies in fourths and fifths and noise-like sounds, from points and lines rather than thematic formations, concentrated and economically presented in each of the movements. Well-deserved applause for the composer, who was present at the performance.
- Hartmut Lück, Weser-Kurier, Bremen

The youngsters who formed a trio five years ago are the violinist Nicola Benedetti, who plays a wonderfully sonorous Stradivari (1717), cellist Leonard Elschenbroich who plays an equally wonderful instrument (Matteo Goffriller, 1693), and Russian pianist Alexei Grynyuk.
A subtle work: "Butterflies Remember A Mountain" by Arlene Elizabeth Sierra. It refers to a phenomenon of butterflies flying a long detour on migration because their ancestors have taken a route, in spite of changes in the environment. Sierra makes a haiku-style three verses out of it; so three movements - light, dazzling moves, in the tenderest tone of butterflies, reminding one of a melancholy softness; and a fickle detour over a mountain with virtuoso string flickerings and massive chords from the piano.
- Gabriele Seybold, Frankfurter Neue Presse

The young piano trio, with Italo-Scottish Nicola Benedetti on violin, Leonard Elschenbroich of Frankfurt on cello and the Ukrainian Alexei Grynyuk on the piano, guested at the chamber music series in the town hall. What they presented was to some extent a dark current of thought, interrupted by a swarm of colorful butterflies. The dark current of thought, these were the late piano trios of Schumann (Opus 110) and early Rachmaninov (Opus 9).
 The swarm of colorful butterflies fluttering through the piece "Butterflies Remember a Mountain" was by Miami-born, London-based  composer Arlene Sierra.
Whirring harmonics
Arlene Sierra was inspired, for her brand-new piece (it was the third performance), by a species of butterfly that flies on its migration from Canada to Mexico around a mountain long since removed, that lives on in the genetic memory of the insects. With delicately swirling harmonics and tremolos, the musicians dived into this insectoid soundsphere. Here charm, light, weightless, shimmering, circular motifs, condense and increase until the exhausted butterflies cloud around the imaginary peak. A poignant scene.
- Armin Knauer, Reutlinger General-Anzeiger


A reunion with Nicola Benedetti and Alexei Grynyuk , this time with Leonard Elschenbroich.


How nice to see these artists in the chamber music hall of the City Hall, more intimately and more intense than in the Lizst Hall . Now as a trio, which still has no name, they left us with a profound interaction and a compelling attention to presentation. The young cellist Leonard Elschenbroich complemented the duo Benedetti / Grynyuk excellently, he made the announcements and also proved to be a musically like-minded third man.
Sure technique, clear articulation and contrasted and nuanced sound design allowed an enjoyable exploration and savoring of the phrases.
Highly topical as the "commissioned work for piano trio" the announced piece by U.S. composer Arlene Sierra (born 1970), entitled "Butterflies Remember a Mountain" received its third performance recently in Reutlingen.
It is inspired by a puzzling butterfly migration in our own time through North America, around Lake Superior, the piece describes a detour because - maybe, eons ago - there was a mountain. That insects would also give rise to advanced string-tone painting was to be expected.
But Arlene Sierra follows her own rules: The three movements are concise and transparent structures. Thus, the three musicians created a dense atmosphere in which the fluttering and whirring, above all the wordless secret space was to unfold. A fascinating piece, brilliantly interpreted - and given loud applause.
- Susanna Eckstein, Südwest Presse

The Netherlands premiere of Butterflies Remember a Mountain at the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam:



Composer and performers at the world premiere of Butterflies Remember a Mountain in Bremen:

Game of Attrition CD



Game of Attrition: Arlene Sierra, Vol. 2, is Sierra's latest portrait disc, released by Bridge Records to international critical acclaim.