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Photo: Mike Minehan

Composer, Johns Hopkins University

Alberto Vilar Fellow - Class of Fall 2001 and Class of Spring 2002

Born in 1971, Michael Hersch began composing at the age of 19. His works have been commissioned and performed by Carnegie Hall, the Dallas Symphony, the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Brooklyn Philharmonic, the New York Chamber Symphony, the Colorado Symphony and others. His music has been performed in Europe, Russia, Japan, Hong Kong, and throughout the United States, including at both Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center.


Recent commissions scheduled for premieres during the 2011-12 season include major works for the Cleveland Orchestra, and a new song cycle for baritone Thomas Hampson. Hersch’s new work for string quartet, “Images from a Closed Ward,” commissioned by the Blair String Quartet will receive premiere performances in New York, Philadelphia, and Nashville. In the fall of 2011, cellist Daniel Gaisford gave the world premiere of Hersch’s “Sonata No. 3 for Unaccompanied Cello” on the Transit Circle Concert Series at Merkin Concert Hall in New York. During the summer of 2010, Hersch’s Symphony No. 3 was premiered by Marin Alsop and the Cabrillo Contemporary Music Festival Orchestra, a festival commission. His violin work, “in the snowy margins,” was premiered by Peter Sheppard-Skaerved at the Dartington New Music Festival in the UK Other recent commissions include Hersch’s, “A Forest of Attics,” for the Network for New Music’s 25th anniversary season, which premiered during the spring of 2010, and was selected as one of the most important classical music events of the year by the Philadelphia Inquirer.


Hersch has been 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.

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