Philippe Hersant (Composer) – Biography

Philippe Hersant

Hersant Philippe was a French composer. He studied both literature and music. As a result, he became a trained pianist with a degree in letters. Philippe Hersant took harmony classes with Georges Hugon and later joined the composition class of Andre Jolivet at the Paris Conservatory in 1968. He received his undergraduate degree in the same year.

From 1970 to 1972, Hersant taught music in his residence at the Casa de Velasquez. He also took the role of a producer at the radio station France Musiques. In 1978, he moved to the Villa Medicis with the support of Henri Dutilleux and Gilbert Amy. It was during this period when he truly found time to compose his own work. His earliest work in music is the Stances for orchestra. His piece became popular and was followed by several other musicians to create works like Missa Brevis, the first opera conducted in 1983. He also composed several shorter works which were equally dynamic and interesting for the musicians to listen and play. He then returned back to creating orchestral music with the Second Concerto for Cello and the ballet Hurlevent.

Philippe Hersant

Since Philippe Hersant studied music at the Paris Conservatory, he became a part of the class of Andre Jolivet. That gave his career a good boost as he went on to produce radio broadcasts in 1973 with France Musique. But when he completed his music studies in 1970, he took a decade for himself to find his own language. With time, Philippe’s work became more mature, and it had to do a lot with what he studied in books. He was an avid reader and a fan of cinema. He has drawn on the literary sources of James Joyce and also worked with the cinematographic sources to create new projects.

With his ninety-around pieces, Philippe Hersant gained a reputation in the contemporary music scene. He received commissions from institutions like the French Ministry of Culture, Trio, Violin Concerto, and Radio France to keep composing new music. Apart from that, he also made several compositions for cinema and theatre.

Philippe Hersant was featured as the main guest of the Festival Presences in 2004, the opera Le Moine noir in 2006, Paris Opera in 2002, and the Orchestre National de Lyon in 2000. Apart from the music community, he was awarded several distinctions, such as Grand Prix Musical de la Ville de Paris in 1990, Grand Prix SACEM for symphonic music in 1998, Grand Prix of the Del Duce Foundation in 2001, and more.

Philippe Hersant likes to be called a tonal composer because of his special interest in creating tones that can impact listeners. He is willing to turn the entire heritage of music from Monteverdi to Janacek to Stockhausen to create something that is completely new and satisfies him. He likes to be personal rather than seek innovation.

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