Peabody in Baltimore is one of the leading conservatories in the US.Michael Hersch, a composer known for extraordinarily complex and emotionally rich works, is the recipient of the 2017 President’s Frontier Award from Johns Hopkins University. Hersch will receive $250,000 "for research and innovation."Hersch is an alumnus of the Peabody Institute of JHU, where he joined the faculty in 2006. He heads the composition department.
Known for writing lengthy works -- his "Vanishing Pavilions" for solo piano lasts three hours, for example -- Hersch said that one possibility for the money is to help fund performances of large-scale projects "that no normal presenter would undertake."Let's have a look at what is available on YouTube. Here is a brief section from his Vanishing Pavillions for piano performed by the composer:
I hope he would not be insulted if I said that I was reminded a bit of Olivier Messiaen's enormous Catalogue d'oiseaux? Here is another piece, a movement from his Symphony No. 3:
I'm glad to become acquainted with this composer that I am sorry to say I don't think I have heard of before.
One comment, though: the Baltimore Sun has an awful website. In order to pull out those brief quotes I had to fight through a mass of irrelevant and unrelated advertisements, videos of the People's Choice Awards, more advertisements, videos about the Super Bowl, and more advertisements. The actual story was like an afterthought.
Now wouldn't it be interesting if Canada could ever find it possible to give a composer a substantial award like this...