Andrew Kirshner

Assistant Professor Emeritus of Music


Andy Kirshner is a composer, writer, director, and vocalist whose work explores the poetic interaction of music, image, sound, and story. An accomplished filmmaker, jazz improviser, and media artist – as well as composer – Kirshner’s creative output ranges from lyric art song to multimedia performance, from bebop scat chorus to musical theatre, and from oratorio to experimental video. Some recent works include The Museum of Life and Death, a multimedia music-theatre piece based on the medieval Play of Everyman; Five Ways to Pass the Time, a video work commissioned by Michigan Public Television; Houdini Séance, a performance work for video projections, percussion, and live electronics; and An Evening With Tony Amore, a fractured musical memory play based on the life of Frank Sinatra and scored for a 35-piece jazz orchestra. Currently, Kirshner is producing and directing his first feature film, a political satire and “girl meets girl” musical called Liberty’s Secret.

Kirshner has received numerous awards and commissions, including three project fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, two fellowships at the University of Michigan’s prestigious Institute for the Humanities, commissions from Artserve Michigan and the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, and an award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His performance work has been presented by Dance Theatre Workshop and Performance Space 122 in New York City, and his short films and videos have been screened at electronic music concerts and film festivals both nationally and internationally.

Kirshner holds a DMA (1999) in music composition from the University of Michigan, where his principal teachers included William Bolcom, Evan Chambers, and Michael Daugherty. He also received a BM in saxophone performance from the New England Conservatory of Music (1983), and a degree in philosophy from Tufts University (1983). More recently, he has studied film directing and rehearsal technique with Judith Weston at the Two Lights Studio in Los Angeles.

Kirshner was jointly appointed by the Stamps School of Art and Design, where he taught video, and by the School of Music, Theatre & Dance, where he taught film scoring, sound design, and multimedia performance.

Updated on: 1/4/2024