The National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences placed Lester Hirsh's 'Mosaic II: Poems of An Ancient Order' on the Official Ballot for the 47th Annual Grammy Awards for 'Best Spoken Word Album.'
Lester Hirsh is a gifted guitarist, singer/songwriter, and poet. Performing on Spanish 6-string and acoustic 12-string guitar, his style ranges from classical, country, and folk, to Brazilian jazz and Flamenco. His repertoire includes original compositions as well as standards performed with intriguing percussive guitar riffs and harmonica.
Hirsh's guitar style, singing, flair for humor, and ability to work the crowd, moved Cheryl Mansley of RiverHouse Concerts, Shepherdstown, WV, to describe him as a 'One Man Traveling Party.'
Lester has performed in a variety of ensembles over the past 30 years - folk trio Side Three, Tampa, Florida, folk/pop trio Jerusalem, Williamsport, Pennsylvania, and duo Sweet River, Concord, New Hampshire. During that time Lester also honed his skills as a viable solo artist.
In 2002 Lester began to divide time between Concord, New Hampshire and his hometown of Shenandoah, Pennsylvania. From 1985 to 1998 he produced three full-length cassette LPs: 'Part & Parcel,' 'Piper's Dream,' and 'Whistle in the Wind.' This was followed by 'Tales of a Troubadour' in 1994, a 17-song retrospective compilation. 'Piper's Dream' and 'To Have You By My Side,' from 'Tales,' appeared on the Big Noise compilation disc 'Digital Mystery Tour' which received airplay in the US and overseas.
In 1997, Lester was a finalist in the Napa Valley, California, Emerging Songwriter Contest for his songs 'Whistle in the Wind' and 'On the Road in America.' In June of 2000 he performed on Michael Johnathon's 'Woodsong Old Time Radio Hour.'
In the fall of 1998, the CD 'Sweet Surrender' was released, followed by 'Strangers and Lonesome Friends' in 2003. Two spoken word CDs, 'Mosaic, Poems of an Ancient Order' and 'Mosaic II, Poems of an Ancient Order' were released in 2002 and 2003 respectively, followed by 'Lester Hirsh Live at the Coffee and Tea Room' in 2004 and the instrumental CD 'River of Strings' in 2006.
In addition to Lester's music career, from 1988 through 2002, he was publisher and editor of Bone & Flesh literary magazine. His poems have been published in The Ashville Poetry Review, Signal, Tabula Rasa, and other periodicals. His poem, 'Casualties,' along with art by Fleur Byers, was on exhibit at the Pen & Brush Gallery, New York City, in 1992. His book, 'Mosaic II, Poems of an Ancient Order,' was published by the Writers Publishing Cooperative, Warner, New Hampshire. ( www.essentialbooks.com ) Ellen Hersh calls his poetry, 'universal with the voice of an ancient troubadour and the language of our times.'
Lester performs for special needs audiences, artist-in-school residencies, and numerous concert venues. He teaches poetry as well as guitar workshops in community education settings. He is a member of the AIE Roster, Schuylkill County Council of the Arts, as well as the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts.
Richard Isen (Musicians on the Internet) says of Lester's musical style, 'like Johnny Cash meets Allen Ginsberg with Woody Guthrie looking on.'
Of his performance, Jane Fallon, former director of the Wilton NH Arts Festival, says, 'Lester Hirsh is the consummate performer with the polish of a professional and the enthusiasm of a rookie.'