Biography of Edith Hirshtal

Edith Hirshtal, Austrian born pianist, has won enthusiastic responses from audiences and critics alike.

Michael Kimmelman of The New York Times called her "a pianist with something to say and that alone makes her preferable to the majority of pianists today." In the New York Times review of her debut performance at Carnegie Hall, the critic went on to describe her as "playing with heart, rich color and drama."

Daniel Cariaga of the Los Angeles Times in a review of Ms. Hirshtal’s solo recital at The Japan America Theatre in Los Angeles called her "a strong addition to the Southern California community, a pianist with apparently eclectic tastes and commanding resources… (she) approached major works of Chopin and Mozart gamely and stylishly…in the Chopin b minor Sonata, the pianist displayed her reliable and charming facility in the Scherzo, her philosophical repose in the Largo, and her command of structure in the Finale."

David Levinson in a review of a concert in the city of Long Beach wrote in The Press Telegram that "Hirshtal is a pianist whose playing is accurate and deeply felt, one who is capable of dazzling finger work and of dynamics so subtle that in a quiet moment the pressure exerted by one hand can be just one feather softer than the pressure exerted by the other. Under her fingers, the instrument sings."

As recital soloist, collaborative artist and concerto soloist, Hirshtal has been heard in concert halls throughout the United States, including The Philadelphia Academy of Music and Lincoln Center in New York City. She has appeared with principal members of The Philadelphia Orchestra, the New York Metropolitan Opera Company, the Philadelphia Opera Company, the Sequoia Quartet and as concerto soloist with San Francisco's Women' s Philharmonic, under the baton of JoAnn Falleta.

Ms. Hirshtal's performances have been broadcast on radio stations in Philadelphia, Baltimore, New York and in Los Angeles, where she has performed on the Los Angeles County Museum of Art Sundays at Four live broadcasts. Her first compact disc was recorded in Los Angeles and distributed by Dunhill Compact Classics performing the music of Chopin in the CD entitled ‘Music Inspired by the film, Impromptu.’

Ms. Hirshtal’s collaborations include performances with Michael Korn and the Philadelphia. Singers, Stephanie Chase, Katherine Ciesynski, Jonathan Mack, Antoinette Perry, Peter Marsh, Gary Bovyer, William Powell, Michael Carson, Neil Weintrob and Dudley Moore.

The recipient of many awards, Ms. Hirshtal was a prizewinner in the William Kappel International Piano Competition, where she won the prize for Best Classical Sonata for her performance of Beethoven’s piano sonata, Opus 109. She was awarded the Galica Prize by the Paderewski Foundation of New York City and was a semi finalist in The Young Concert Artists International Auditions.

Other honors include an Alumni Award from Temple University and numerous awards from The California State University System. She is listed in Marquis' Who's Who of America, Who' s Who of American Women and Who's Who in the World, as well as in The International Directory of Who's Who in Classical Music.

Professor Emeritus of the California State University, Long Beach, Ms. Hirshtal left her position as director of Keyboard Studies and Area Coordinator of Piano Studies in 2002. She has been an active master class clinician and an adjudicator. Her students have gone on to study at some of America' s most prestigious music schools and conservatories, including The Juilliard School, The Manhattan School of Music, Boston Conservatory and USC.

Ms. Hirshtal's own teachers have included such renowned figures as Leon Fleisher, with whom she received The Artist Diploma from The Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University, Adele Marcus of The Juilliard School, Harvey Wedeen of Temple University and Genia Robinor of The Philadelphia Musical Academy. She has been on the faculties of Temple University, The Bryn Mawr Conservatory and The Downeast Summer Chamber Institute in Maine.

Since relocating to New York City, Ms. Hirshtal teaches part time at The Church Street School of Music and Art and continues to perform as a freelance musician. She was music director and vocal coach for La Mama's premiere of Wickham Boyles' and Doug Geers' opera, Calling.

Ms. Hirshtal is available for private lessons, solo and collaborative performances and master classes, as well as vocal coaching.

A child of Polish born Holocaust survivors, Ms. Hirshtal collaborated on a documentary film with Professor Sharyn Blumenthal entitled The Phoenix Effect. The film has been shown all over the United States, including The United States National Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. and is now part of The Steven Spielberg Archives in Jerusalem at the Hebrew University. Click here to learn more about "The Phoenix Effect" documentary.

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