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— The Financial Times of London
Recent commissions have included major works for the Cleveland Orchestra, and a new song cycle for baritone Thomas Hampson. In 2012, Mr. Hersch’s string quartet, his 50-minute Images from a Closed Ward, commissioned by the Blair String Quartet, received premiere performances in New York, Philadelphia and Nashville. Mr. Hersch's second piano concerto, along the ravines, commissioned by pianist Shai Wosner and the Borletti-Buitoni Trust (BBT) received its premiere with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra with Mr. Wosner as soloist in the spring of 2012. In the fall of 2011, the Transit Circle series presented an all-Hersch recital at Merkin Concert Hall in New York. Mr. Hersch is currently completing work on his first opera, On the Threshold of Winter, a monodrama in two acts for soprano and mixed ensemble.
— Atlanta Journal-Constitution
His music increasingly recorded, Vanguard Classics is in the midst of an acclaimed three volume survey of Mr. Hersch’s complete music for solo strings. This project - with his Sonatas Nos. 1 & 2 for Unaccompanied Cello released in 2009, and his complete works for violin released in 2010 - comes several years after the landmark 2007 boxed-set release of Mr. Hersch’s, The Vanishing Pavilions, with the composer at the keyboard. Mr. Hersch’s second disc for the label, featuring the composer performing his own works in addition to those of Feldman, Rihm and Josquin, was selected by The Washington Post and Newsday as among the most important recordings of 2004-05. That disc followed-up his first, released in 2003, which features Mr. Hersch performing his Two Pieces for Piano and Recordatio, with additional performances of Mr. Hersch's chamber works for strings by the String Soloists of the Berlin Philharmonic. In 2006, a recording of Mr. Hersch’s orchestral works, including his early Symphonies Nos. 1 & 2, was released on the Naxos American Classics series with Marin Alsop conducting the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.
— The New York Times
In 2001, while living in Germany, Mr. Hersch completed his Symphony No. 2, which was commissioned by Mariss Jansons and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. It was the second Hersch work which Jansons and the orchestra toured with to Carnegie Hall. A work for clarinet and cello written for clarinetist Walter Boeykens was premiered at the Pantheon in Rome that year as part of the Romaeuropa Festival. During the summer of 2002, Hersch's Octet for Strings, commissioned by Boris Pergamenschikow and the Kronberg Akademie, was given its premiere at the Schloss Neuhardenberg Festival in Brandenberg. For the 2002/03 season Mr. Hersch was selected as the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra's resident composer by Music Director Mariss Jansons. Mr. Hersch's Piano Concerto, commissioned by Garrick Ohlsson and the orchestras of St. Louis, Oregon and Pittsburgh, was premiered during the fall 2002. In early 2003, at the Philharmonie in Berlin, the String Soloists of the Berlin Philharmonic performed two of Hersch's works including the Octet for Strings and the premiere of his Duo for viola and cello. Later that year Mr. Hersch gave the world premiere of his Recordatio and Two Pieces at the Musica XXI Romaeuropa Festival in Italy. During this same concert, cellist Daniel Gaisford gave the premiere of Mr. Hersch's Sonata No. 2 for Unaccompanied Cello. In the fall of 2004, his work for violin and piano, the wreckage of flowers, which was commissioned by Midori, was given performances by the violinist and pianist Robert McDonald in Lisbon, London and New York. Arraché, which was commissioned by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra for the opening of their new concert hall, was premiered in early 2005. On October 14th, 2006 in Philadelphia, Mr. Hersch gave the world premiere of his The Vanishing Pavilions -- a work for solo piano with a duration of over two hours. He recorded the work the following year.
Born in Washington D.C. in 1971, Michael Hersch first came to international attention at age twenty-five, when he was awarded First Prize in the 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 (2000), the Berlin Prize (2001) and both the Charles Ives Scholarship (1996) and Goddard Lieberson Fellowship (2006) from the American Academy of Arts & Letters, three A.S.C.A.P. Morton Gould Awards, and many other honors. Mr. Hersch was a fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center, the Norfolk Festival for Contemporary Music, and the Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, Japan. He studied at the Peabody Institute of Music in Baltimore, with additional studies at the Moscow Conservatory in Russia. He currently heads the Department of Composition at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University.