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Commissions update

Posted by on Tuesday, August 31, 2010 in Articles, Fall 2010.


Hersch to compose for BSQ
Michael Hersch has been commissioned to write a chamber music piece for the Blair String Quartet to be delivered spring 2011 for “The Blair Commissions: Music for the 21st Century” through funding from the James Stephen Turner Family Foundation.

Hersch first came to international attention when he was 25 and won 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. 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.

Regarded among today’s foremost pianists, he has appeared on the Van Cliburn Foundation’s “Modern at the Modern” Series, the Romaeuropa Festival, the Festival of Contemporary Music “Nuova Consonanza,” American Academy in Berlin Series, 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 Arts and Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, among others.
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 and the Moscow Conservatory in Russia. He currently serves on the composition faculty of the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University.

The Blair Woodwind Quintet, from left, Leslie Norton, horn; Cynthia Estill, bassoon; Cassandra Lee, clarinet; Jared Hauser, oboe; and Jane Kirchner, flute.
The Blair Woodwind Quintet, from left, Leslie Norton, horn; Cynthia Estill, bassoon; Cassandra Lee, clarinet; Jared Hauser, oboe; and Jane Kirchner, flute.

WW5 to release Schickele work on Naxos label
The Blair Woodwind Quintet has recorded A Year in the Catskills, the piece composed for them by Peter Schickele as one of the Blair Commissions. It will be released in late 2011 on the Naxos label.

Produced by quintet member Jared Hauser, assistant professor of oboe, and Frank Kirchner, adjunct associate professor of saxophone, the recording was made in the Martha Rivers Ingram Center for the Performing Arts with recording engineers Gary Hedden and Joseph Logsdon of GHL Audio. A Year in the Catskills is one of five pieces on the recording, which also includes Gardens for oboe and piano; What Did You Do Today at Jeffery’s House?, three pieces for French horn and piano; Dream Dances for flute, oboe and cello; and Diversions for oboe, clarinet and bassoon.

In addition to Hauser, the other members of the Blair Woodwind Quintet are Cynthia Estill, associate professor of bassoon; Jane Kirchner, associate professor of flute; Cassandra Lee, associate professor of clarinet; and Leslie Norton, assistant professor of horn. They were joined on the recording by Melissa Rose, associate professor of piano, and Felix Wang, associate professor of cello. James Lovensheimer, assistant professor of musicology, is writing program notes for the recording.