Liisa Hirsch

Photo: Marije van den Berg

Composer, ECU member since 2011
Born on 05.01.1984

Liisa Hirsch has studied piano in Tallinn Music High School in Laine Mets’s class,  where she also attended composition lessons with Mati Kuulberg and Timo Steiner and learned improvisation with Taavi Kerikmäe. In 2009, she graduated from the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre in composition under Toivo Tulev, and improved her skills in piano with Prof. Ivari Ilja, electronic music with Margo Kõlar and improvisation with Prof. Anto Pett. In 2015, she obtained a master’s degree in composition at The Royal Conservatory of The Hague under the guidance of Peter Adriaansz and Cornelis de Bondt.

In 2006, Liisa Hirsch participated in the international workshop for young composers in Dundaga, Latvia. In 2008 she took part in Rafael Reina’s master course of South Indian rhythmics. In the same year, she performed at the Moers Festival in Germany. Additionally, she has attended course of Action Theater (tutors Ruth Zaporah, Sabine von der Tann, Sten Rudström) and corporeal mime (tutor Elke Luyten).

Hirsch has worked in Tallinna Music High School as a teacher of free improvisation (2007–2009) and lecturer in Tallinn University (2011). From 2011 to 2013, she worked as the music director of the Estonian Drama Theatre.

She has played keyboards, synthesizers and electronics in different collectives focused on free improvisation or indie music. Also, she has sung in the vocal ensemble Heinavanker, Tallinn Music High School Chamber Choir and Tallinn University Chamber Choir.

Hirsch has written for orchestra, different ensembles and choir, she has also created music for theatre and film. The main characteristic of her music is sensitivity concerning timbre and focused attention to the sound, as well as purity of form and a research-oriented approach towards composition. Microtonal reflection can also be observed in her work. Lately, she has been seeking to further the means of concentrated listening.

Her music has been played at several festivals including Mata Festival, ISCM World Music Days, Gaudeamus Muziek Week, Átlátszó Hang Újzenei Fesztivál, Ostrava New Music Days, Young Euro Classic, Estonian Music Days, Afekt, Musica Sacra Festival and International Arts Festival in St.Petersburg. Hirsch has worked together with S.E.M. Ensemble (New York), Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, Figura Ensemble (Denmark), THReNSeMBLe ensemble (Hungary), Elblag Chamber Orchestra, Estonian National Male Choir, Estonian National Symphony Orchestra and others.

For her music for theatre plays, Hirsch has twice received the Estonian Theatre Annual Award: in 2010 for the best original music for drama (Night of Souls) and in 2013 for the best original music or musical design for drama (Iceland’s BellThree SistersNew Electric Ballroom). In 2015, her work Brautigan Circles for voices and large ensemble was selected as the winning piece at the young composers’ meeting in Apeldoorn organised by Dutch ensemble Orkest de Erenprijs. Ascending… Descending for string orchestra achieved 5th place at the International Rostrum for Composers in 2015 and the new composition award Au-tasu by LHV Bank in 2016, orchestral work Mechanics of Flying won the European Composer Award at the festival Young Euro Classic in Berlin. In 2017, Liisa Hirsch was given the Heino Eller Music Prize.

© EMIK 2014
Updated in October 2017