Composer Howard Hersh was born in Santa Monica, California in 1940 and studied piano in Los Angeles and composition at Stanford University.
His music has been recognized by grants and awards from organizations that range from the American Symphony Orchestra League to The Grateful Dead’s Rex Foundation.
Together with his composition work, he has directed many new music groups, including the San Francisco Conservatory New Music Ensemble, which he founded, and served as Music Director of Pacifica Radio in Berkeley.
The music critic for Sacramento’s NPR station praised his work as, “thoughtful music of great depth that is filled with drama and beauty.”
The Pony Concerto, a CD of chamber works, was released in 2007 by Albany Records; he has also recorded for Wergo’s Masters of New Music series.
He lives in the Sierra Foothills, where he is currently at work on an opera for children.
“Angels and Watermarks” is a collection of keyboard works composed between 2003 and 2008.
The “Concerto for Piano and Ten Instruments” combines the energetic, multi-layered voice of modern music with the drama and quiet poetry of the traditional form.
“Angels and Watermarks,” a five movement suite for harpsichord, was composed in 2004.
Its title comes from a story by Henry Miller, in which he continually alters a painting until he discovers an angel, his watermark that was waiting to be revealed. It reflected the composer’s desire to let the harpsichord’s historical voice shine through the work, not to mention the joy he experienced at imagining little cherubs flying through the air.
The suite’s movements include a prelude, a study in perpetual motion, a lullaby, an homage to the toccata, and a postlude, in which the opening movement is briefly recalled.
“Dream” was begun in 2003, when the composer was exploring ways of incorporating tonal harmony into his music. Its quiet, expansive and meditative landscape is dedicated to pianist Brenda Tom.
Brenda Tom is a celebrated Bay Area solo, chamber music and orchestral performer. She is a member of the new music ensemble, Earplay, and, among other groups, appears with the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra.
Together with her many guest appearances, Barbara Day Turner is music director of the San Jose Chamber Orchestra and resident conductor of the Utah Festival Orchestra.