Press Room

Michael Hersch’s Monodrama, On the Threshold of Winter, Receives DC Premiere This Saturday (Nov 3)

For American composer Michael Hersch, this Saturday brings the DC premiere of On the Threshold of Winter (2012), the harrowing two-act monodrama that prompted the New Yorker to observe: “Hersch, now in his second decade as one of the most prominent composers in the country, writes masterly modernist music of implacable seriousness.” At Washington’s inaugural Corcoran New Music Festival, as at the BAM world premiere and all subsequent performances, the work will star soprano Ah Young Hong, who has been hailed as “the opera’s blazing, lone star” (New York Times). Hong will both headline and direct the production, which features an eight-piece ensemble led by regular Hersch collaborator Tito Muñoz and projections and video design by Maxwell Bowman (Nov 3). Click here to see a trailer for the production.

Hersch created his original libretto for On the Threshold of Winter by adapting The Bridge, the final poetry collection of Romanian author and Nobel Prize nominee Marin Sorescu (1936-96), who wrote it during the last five weeks of his unsuccessful battle with cancer. The special immediacy with which The Bridge affected the composer owes in large part to the constellation of ways cancer has impacted his own life. He explained:

“My closest friend received a cancer diagnosis in her late 30s and died of the disease a few years later. The experience of witnessing what she went through is something far from resolved in me. The horror of the entire thing still haunts. Most unexpectedly, while she was in the midst of her fight I then received a cancer diagnosis myself, at age 36. For that period while I underwent my own surgeries, radiation, indignities …, the roles were reversed, and she was there for me. Ultimately, I was left cured to go on with my life and she was gone.”

Recognized as “a work of great originality, daring, and disturbing power” (Baltimore Sun), On the Threshold of Winter remains Hersch’s only opera to date. Click here for more information.

High-resolution photos can be downloaded here.


Michael Hersch: On the Threshold of Winter (DC premiere)
Sat, Nov 3 at 7:30pm
Washington, DC
Corcoran New Music Festival
Corcoran Gallery of Art
(Flagg Building, North Atrium, Corcoran School of the Arts & Design)

A monodrama in two acts
Music and libretto: Michael Hersch
Director: Ah Young Hong
Video design: Maxwell Bowman

Ah Young Hong, soprano
Tito Muñoz, conductor
Ensemble: Emi Ferguson, flute; Andrew Nogal, oboe; Gleb Kanasevich, clarinet; Benjamin Fingland, bass clarinet; Michael Sheppard, piano; Matthew Gold, percussion; Conrad Harris, violin; Felix Fan, cello

TICKETS: $20 (general admission); $10 (students/seniors)

Tickets are available online (, by calling (202) 994-6245, or at the box office on the night of the performance in the Center Atrium of the Flagg Building.


#          #          #

© 21C Media Group, October 2018

Return to Press Room