American conductor Nicholas Hersh is Music Director of the Modesto Symphony, having been appointed in August 2023 with immediate effect. Across the country, Nicholas has earned critical acclaim for his innovative programming and natural ability to connect with musicians and audiences alike, and he was the unanimous choice of the search committee in Modesto.
In the 2023-24 season, Hersh returns to the National, Houston, Baltimore, Colorado, and New Jersey Symphonies, while making debuts with the Springfield Symphony and Wintergreen Festival. Recent include engagements with the Detroit, Grand Rapids, New World, North Carolina, Phoenix, Portland (ME), Richmond, Tucson, Utah, and Winston-Salem symphony orchestras, Louisiana and Rochester Philharmonics, and the Florida and Sarasota Orchestras.
Over a remarkable tenure as Associate Conductor of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Hersh created the BSO Pulse series, through which he brought together indie bands and orchestral musicians in unique collaborations; he led the BSO in several subscription weeks, and concerts in and around Baltimore; and he directed the BSO’s educational and family programming, including the celebrated Academy for adult amateur musicians. Hersh also maintains a close relationship with the National Symphony Orchestra, leading concerts throughout Washington, D.C. He stepped in to replace an indisposed Yan Pascal Tortelier, on subscription, to great acclaim.
Hersh is frequently in demand as an arranger and orchestrator, with commissions from orchestras around the globe for adaptations of everything from classical solo and chamber music to popular songs. His orchestration of Beethoven’s Cello Sonata Op. 69 was premiered by the Philharmonie Zuidnederland in January 2022, while his symphonic arrangement of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody continues to see worldwide success as a viral YouTube hit. He also serves as arranger and editor for the James P. Johnson Orchestra Edition.
Hersh grew up in Evanston, Illinois and started his musical training as a cellist. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Music from Stanford University and a Master’s Degree in Conducting from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. Hersh is also a two-time recipient of the Solti Foundation Career Assistance Award. Nicholas lives in Philadelphia with his wife Caitlin and their two cats, and in his free time enjoys baking (and eating) sourdough bread.