Conductor & Artistic Director

Michael Hurshell

With a career on the podium heralded by critics as „powerful,“ „exacting“ and „breathtaking“, American conductor MICHAEL HURSHELL now assumes the position of Artistic Director for the newly founded Neue Jüdische Kammerphilharmonie, in Dresden. Called „a master of his craft,“ this passionate and versatile interpreter brings both illuminating musicianship and wide culture to his interpretations.

Michael Hurshell’s achievements on the concert and opera podiums have recently included engagements with the Warsaw National Philharmonic, which he led in the world premiere of Penderecki’s Music for Marimba, Recorders and Orchestra. In opera, after conducting Rigoletto at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein, he was invited back for Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos and Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte.  In 2007, he led the Györ Philharmonic--which he has guest conducted regularly for several seasons--on a Hungarian tour in a hugely successful series of all-Tchaikovsky concerts, including the Piano Concerto No. 1 with Jenö Jando.

His appearances with the Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie excited particular enthusiasm.  His first engagement with the Slovak Philharmonic (Bratislava) resulted in the recording of works by Wagner, Liszt, Moussorgsky and Tchaikovsky.  Since then he has been a regular guest conductor there, performing in the Slovak republic and also bringing the orchestra to Germany, where they performed classic filmscores (Waxman, Korngold, Rosza, Steiner) in 2004.  More recently, he conducted works by Rachmaninoff and Saint-Saëns in Bratislava.

Hurshell has worked with many other orchestras in Europe, including the Karlsbad Symphony (Czech Republic), the Meiningen Residenz Orchestra, the Magyar Symphony Budapest and the Savaria Orchestra (Hungary).  He has also received invitations to many festivals, from Germany to South Korea.

He teaches orchestral conducting at the prestigious Dresden Hochschule für Musik, one of the world’s great conservatories.  He has also given a 15 week seminar on immigrant film composers at Dresden University in Spring 2008, and has been asked to give a seminar on film score aesthetics in Fall 2008.

Born in Vienna, Michael Hurshell’s American parents (Edmond Hurshell, from Ohio, and Patricial Cullen, from Seattle, Washington) were opera singers.  He grew up in Seattle as well as various European cities.  He attended Brown University, graduating magna cum laude.  Post graduate conducting studies in Vienna led to his first professional engagements, conducted touring productions of operas by Mozart, Verdi and Puccini throughout Europe for four seasons.  The performances were widely praised by audiences and by the press.

The Neue Jüdische Kammerphilharmonie’s mission is to perform and bring back into public consciousness the works of Jewish composers who fled from Germany or were murdered by the Nazis, or works that were otherwise forbidden by them.  Following the Kammerphilharmonie’s acclaimed first performance in November 2007, the orchestra was invited to play at the Saxon celebrations for the 60th anniversary of the founding of Israel.