Philippe Hersant was born in Rome in 1948. He currently lives and works in Paris.
Following his musical studies at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris, where he studied composition with André Jolivet, he was offered a scholarship grant to study at the Casa Velasquez from 1970 to 1972 and then at the Villa Medici from 1978 to 1980.
“Philippe Hersant always comes back to the question of memory, both near and distant, veiled, a repeated and almost obsessive memory (…) For him, music is developed using sound images but also mental images and even musical images, more specifically quotes. He willingly affords his musical ideas semantic value, either because they function with a text, or because they are musical works for stage or film. In all these situations of privileged interaction with other arts, Philippe Hersant strives towards a power of evocation which he is remarkably capable of creating from simply pure music. "*
His catalogue contains more than a hundred works written for a wide variety of ensembles: choir, orchestra, solo instrumental music, chamber music, operas - Le Château des Carpathes (commissioned by Radio France), Le Moine noir (commissioned by the Leipzig Opera), and ballet music for the Paris Opera, Wuthering Heights, Vêpres de la Vierge commissioned by Notre-Dame de Paris, a choral opera, Tristia, commissioned by Teodor Currentzis and the Opera de Perm in Russia with repeat performances in Vienna, Berlin, Hamburg, Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Baden-Baden, Athens, and Lucerne.
More recently, Philippe Hersant unveiled his new opera Les Éclairs (on a libretto by Jean Echenoz), at the Opéra-Comique in November 2021.
Widely recognized in the musical world, he has been awarded numerous distinctions: the Grand Prix musical de la Ville de Paris, the Grand Prix SACEM de la musique symphonique, the Grand Prix de la Fondation Del Duca, the Grand Prix Lycéen des Compositeurs, the Prix Musique awarded by the SACD, and three Victoires de la Musique Classique...
* Preface written by Béatrice Ramaut-Chevassus for the collection of interviews with Jean-Marc Bardot
(The Memory Filter. Cig’Art éditions)
His music is published by Durand/Universal Music Classical.
Photo : © Cathy Bistour