ALBERT HIRSH, 88, a pillar of Houston's classical music scene for four decades, died December 27 at home in Overland Park, Kansas, one month after being diagnosed with cancer. Launching his career at age 19 with a New York Town Hall recital, Hirsh later performed throughout North America and abroad. He gained his reputation as a consummate chamber musician through collaboration with many of the best-known musicians of the times, such as Menuhin, Milstein and Perlman. After moving to Houston in 1950, Hirsh soloed with the Houston Symphony and before long was a founding member of numerous local concert series. He taught piano and chamber music at the University of Houston for 40 years. He was head of the Piano Department and director of Applied Music. He was also Artist-in-Residence, appearing in concert regularly with fellow faculty as well as performing regularly elsewhere in Houston and all over the United States. He also taught privately, and for seven years was on the summer faculty at the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria. Hirsh served Houston as a member of the Municipal Arts Commission and the Miller Theater Advisory Council. He retired from UH as Professor Emeritus in 1985 but continued teaching there part-time through 1990. He then moved to Kansas to be closer to family. He is survived by Mildred Wile Hirsh, spouse of 65 years; brother Bernard L. Hirsh, Chicago; son Oliver Hirsh, Klippinge, Denmark; son Ethan Hirsh, Kansas City, MO; four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Son Conrad Hirsh died in 1999. Memorial gifts may be sent to the Albert Hirsh Scholarship Fund, c/o Moores School of Music, 120 School of Music Bldg., University of Houston, Houston, TX 77204-4201.
Published in Houston Chronicle on Dec. 30, 2003.