Photo by Jessica Chappe

Photo by Jessica Chappe

Douglas Hertz

"...demands rhythmic courage and absolute ensemble."


From Lidless Eyes (Time Knows No Bounds)

From Lidless Eyes (Time Knows No Bounds) was initially inspired by Julio Cortázar's short story, Axolotl. The story gives a first-person account of a man discovering and obsessing over the amphibious Axolotls' secret lives as they waste away in a Parisian aquarium. Cortázar's work famously treats time in unique and surprising ways. As he contemplates the uninterrupted infinitude of the Axolotl's life, he mentions that "The eyes of axolotls have no lids."

I found this analogy of lacking the ability to blink as a means of lacking a reference by which to measure time haunting. In creating this piece, I wanted to treat time similarly, avoiding clear moments of punctuation or progression. The piece's forward momentum has to then be generated by other means, namely by the gradual, imperceptible evolution of ideas. Additionally, I sought to create music that captured the discomfort that I personally feel in contemplating what behaviors we turn to in our attempts to cope with the mundane.


About Douglas

Douglas Hertz (b. 1993) is a composer and percussionist based in Brooklyn, NY.

Hertz uses sound as a medium to investigate experiences ranging from the personal to universal and from the physical to the spiritual. Through his work, he seeks to connect with audiences in a way that helps them better understand themselves, one another, and the world they inhabit. 

His work has appeared on programs presented by the Aries Composers Festival, Midwest Composers Symposium, PASIC, Nief Norf Summer Festival, Atlantic Music Festival, the Dynamic Music Festival, Bard College’s Music Alive series and the Deer Valley Music Festival. His music has been either performed or recorded by the University of Michigan Philharmonia Orchestra, Wet Ink Ensemble, Denovo String Quartet, Da Capo Chamber Players, American Symphony Orchestra, Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, Calidore String Quartet, Vanguard Reed Quintet, Up/Down Percussion Quartet, Room 1078, meridian vocal ensemble, and BrassTaps Duo.

As an interdisciplinary collaborator, Hertz has worked with choreographers, visual and installations artists, and filmmakers. Recent collaborations include Saeculum, a cantata/dance piece created in collaboration with choreographer Al Evangelista, and Household, an art/sound installation commissioned by performance group, Call Your Mom.

Hertz holds a B.A. in music from Bard College and an M.M. from the University of Michigan. His past teachers have include Evan Chambers, Bright Sheng, Kristin Kuster, George Tsontakis, Joan Tower, Kyle Gann, and Janet Weir.