Over a remarkable tenure as Associate Conductor of the Baltimore Symphony, Nicholas Hersh earned critical acclaim for his innovative programming and natural ability to connect with musicians and audiences alike. Nicholas 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. During the Covid-19 pandemic, Nicholas developed and conducted the BSO’s new digital concert series, BSO Sessions. Mixing performance with documentary-style interviews, Nicholas introduced the BSO and online audiences to a wide variety of new repertoire, including numerous living composers as well as seldom-performed historical composers. “His commitment to performing works by composers of color,” described BSO leadership, “will continue to inform the BSO’s programming long into the future.”
Highlights of the 2021-22 season include engagements with the NY Philharmonic, Sarasota Orchestra, Louisiana Philharmonic, Portland Symphony, Richmond Symphony, Tucson Symphony, Winston-Salem Symphony, and Peabody Opera.
Nicholas appears regularly with the National Symphony Orchestra in concerts throughout Washington, D.C. He stepped in to replace an indisposed Yan Pascal Tortelier, on subscription, to great acclaim. Other guest conducting appearances include the Houston Symphony, New Jersey Symphony, Phoenix Symphony, North Carolina Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic, and New World Symphony.
Nicholas 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 will receive its premiere 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.
An avid educator, Nicholas has embraced the Young Persons Concert format as a crucial method for orchestras to serve their communities. From 2016-2020, he served as Artistic Director of the Baltimore Symphony Youth Orchestras, and he continues to be a frequent collaborator and guest faculty at the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University.
Nicholas 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, studying with David Effron and Arthur Fagen. In 2011 and 2012, he was a Conducting Fellow with the prestigious American Academy of Conducting at Aspen, studying with mentors Robert Spano, Hugh Wolff, and Larry Rachleff, and has participated in masterclasses with Bernard Haitink and Michael Tilson Thomas. Nicholas 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.