“Hersch's language never hesitates to leap into the abyss - and in ways that, for some listeners,
go straight to parts of the soul that few living composers touch.”
– The Philadelphia Inquirer
Widely considered “one of the most fertile musical minds to emerge in the U.S. over the past generation” (The Financial Times of London), Michael Hersch continues to compose music of tremendous power and invention. His work has been conducted in the U.S. and abroad by conductors including Mariss Jansons, Alan Gilbert, Robert Spano, Marin Alsop, Giancarlo Guerrero, Carlos Kalmar, Yuri Temirkanov, James DePriest, and Gerard Schwarz, and has been performed by the major orchestras of Cleveland, Saint Louis, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Baltimore, Dallas, Cincinnati, Seattle, Oregon, Singapore; festivals including Chicago’s Grant Park Festival and California's Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music; and ensembles including the String Soloists of the Berlin Philharmonic, the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, the Network for New Music, and the Blair String Quartet, among others. He has written for such soloists as Garrick Ohlsson, Thomas Hampson, Midori, Boris Pergamenschikow, Shai Wosner, Walter Boeykens, Michael Sachs, and Daniel Gaisford. His solo and chamber works have appeared on programs throughout the world - from the Chamber Society of Lincoln Center to the Philharmonie in Berlin; from the British Museum and the Dartington New Music Festival in the U.K., to the Romaeuropa Festival in Italy; from Tanglewood in Boston to the Pacific Music Festival in Japan.
As a pianist, Mr. Hersch has appeared on the Van Cliburn Foundation’s Modern at the Modern Series, the Romaeuropa Festival, the Phillips Collection in Washington D.C., Cleveland’s Reinberger Chamber Hall at Severance Hall, the Warhol Museum, Festa Europea della Musica, St. Louis' Sheldon Concert Hall, and in New York City at Merkin Concert Hall, the 92nd St. Y - Tisch Center for the Performing Arts, and Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, among others. He has recorded widely on the Vanguard Classics label.
Michael Hersch first came to international attention at age twenty-five, when he was awarded First Prize in the Concordia American Composers Awards. The award resulted in a performance of his Elegy, conducted by Marin Alsop in New York's Alice Tully Hall in early 1997. Later that year he became one of the youngest recipients ever of a Guggenheim Fellowship in Composition. Mr. Hersch has also been the recipient of the Rome Prize, the Berlin Prize, and both the Charles Ives Scholarship and Goddard Lieberson Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts & Letters. His principal studies were at the Peabody Institute of Music in Baltimore with additional studies at the Moscow Conservatory in Russia. He currently chairs the Department of Composition at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University.