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Sinfonía No. 3

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Roberto Sierra

Roberto Sierra (trans. Mark Davis Scatterday)

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Subtitle: La Salsa

General Info

Year: 2005 / 2009
Duration: c. 23:00
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Orchestra
Publisher: Subito Music Corp.
Cost: Score and Parts - $250.00   |   Score Only - $45.00


1. Tumbao - 6:45
2. Habanera - 6:14
3. Danzas - 4:49
4. Jolgorio - 8:51


(Needed - please join the WRP if you can help.)


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Sinfonia No. 3 - "La Salsa" was commissioned through a 2004 Joyce Award from The Joyce Foundation, Chicago, by the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Andres Delfs, Music Director, who also performed the world premiere. Roberto Sierra completed his four-movement, 30-minute, Sinfonia No. 3 - “La Salsa” in 2005.

Mark Scatterday created the wind ensemble transcription in 2009 and premiered it with the Eastman Wind Ensemble in the same year. As in all of his masterful transcriptions, Scatterday kept the original keys. Original wind parts are mostly unaltered, except for occasional additions of material from the string parts. The latter’s timbres and sound colors are faithfully and creatively reflected in the added instruments, especially the saxophones, low brass, and percussion, with careful attention to every musical detail of the original.

Roberto Sierra writes:

“As the title of my work implies (“La Salsa”), this symphony is about the music of the Spanish speaking Caribbean: Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, and Cuba. In the true spirit of salsa music (salsa means ”sauce” in English), I mix diverse types of older and newer rhythms from the music I remember growing up in Puerto Rico. The first movement is in actual Sonata-Allegro form. The different themes evoke the piano riffs (or tumbaos, as in the subtitle I gave the movement), heard in many salsa pieces. The second and third movements (Habanera and Danzas) evoke older music. The habanera is the rhythm that during the XIX century traveled from the coasts of Havana to Europe, and the danza is the main music form used in Puerto Rico during the same period. The symphony closes with a jolgorio. This word was used traditionally to describe a happy celebration, and in the movement I use the lively rhythm of two different types of rhythmic patterns of Afro-Caribbean origins: the merengue from the Dominican Republic and the piena from Puerto Rico.” “I wanted to write a piece that takes off from the riffs of the salsa. I’m drawing on the vernacular. Beethoven, Mozart, Haydn -- they all did that. It’s nothing new.”

Oftentimes, Sierra’s music includes elements of folklore or popular music in order to portray today’s contrasting images of Puerto Rico. These nationalistic elements are reduced to their very essential components in order to be merged with forms and styles of traditional concert music, creating a sophisticated, complex musical structure. The composer himself refers to his fusion of European modernism and Latin American folk elements as “tropicalization.”

Sinfonia No. 3 — "La Salsa" is the third out of (to this day) four symphonies by Roberto Sierra. Particularly due to its strong audience appeal, the work has enjoyed international success. In 2007 the Serge and Olga Koussevitzky International Recording Award (KIRA) was awarded to Albany Records for the recording of Sinfonla No. 3 - “La Salsa”.

- Program Note from the San Francisco Wind Ensemble concert program, 5 October 2013


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • The Hartt Wind Ensemble (West Hartford, Conn.) (James E. Jackson III, conductor) - 25 March 2023
  • State University of New York, Fredonia, Wind Ensemble (Paula Holcomb, conductor) - 30 April 2022
  • James Madison University (Harrisonburg, Va.) Wind Symphony (Stephen Bolstad, conductor) - 26 February 2022
  • University of Nebraska (Lincoln) Wind Ensemble (Carolyn Barber, conductor) – 2 October 2019
  • State University of New York at Fredonia Wind Ensemble (Paula Holcomb, conductor) – 22 April 2017
  • University of North Carolina, Greensboro, Wind Ensemble (John R. Locke, conductor) – 17 February 2017
  • United States Coast Guard Band (New London, Conn.) (Richard Wyman, conductor) – 9 November 2016
  • University of Southern California Thornton Wind Ensemble (H. Robert Reynolds, conductor) - 28 October 2016
  • University of Georgia (Athens) Hodgson Wind Ensemble (Cynthia Johnston Turner, conductor) – 6 October 2016
  • Indiana University (Bloomington) Wind Ensemble (Stephen W. Pratt, conductor) - 28 September 2016
  • University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) Symphony Band (Michael Haithcock, conductor) – 8 April 2016
  • Eastman Wind Ensemble (Mark Davis Scatterday, conductor) - 3 May 2015
  • San Francisco Wind Ensemble (Mark Scatterday, conductor) - 5 October 2013
  • 2010 CBDNA Intercollegiate Band (Reno, Nev.) (Thomas C. Duffy, conductor) – 13 March 2010 (CBDNA 2010 Western/Northwestern Division Conference (Reno, Nev.)
  • Eastman Wind Ensemble (Rochester, N.Y.) (Mark Davis Scatterday, conductor) – 18 December 2009 (2009 Midwest Clinic)

Works for Winds by This Composer


None discovered thus far.