Founded in 1989, Hemsing Associates is a publicity agency for individual classical musicians, ensembles, festivals, and, special projects, including visual, theatrical, and literary endeavors.
Our firm has represented legendary pianist Alfred Brendel since 1989, as well as pianists Mateusz Borowiak, Till Fellner, Marc-André Hamelin, Kimiko Ishizaka, Paavali Jumppanen, Jon Nakamatsu, Thomas Nickell, Ursula Oppens, and Roman Rabinovich, as well as the conductor and pianist Ian Hobson; organist Paul Jacobs, conductor and composer Anthony Barrese; composer Michael Hersch; clarinetist Charles Neidich; and the New York Choral Society, New York International Piano Competition, Key Pianists, and Tafelmusik.
Over the years our roster has included the Academy of Ancient Music; Andreas Scholl, Apollo's Fire, Asian Youth Orchestra (Sergiu Comissiona); Concert Artists Guild; Dicapo Opera Theatre; Juillard String Quartet; Metzler Violins; Munich Chamber Orchestra (Christoph Poppen); New York Collegium (Andrew Parrott); Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de México (Enrique Diemecke); Orquestra de São Paulo (John Neschling); Orpheus; New York Festival of Song; Philharmonia of the Nations (Justus Franz); Red Army Chorus & Dance Company; Saint Louis Symphony (Hans Vonk); Stavanger Symphony (Fabio Biondi); Salzburg Festival (Gerard Mortier); Spoleto Festival USA, Tchaikovsky Opera and Ballet, Russia; Temple University Symphony Orchestra, and the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, as well as pianists Arnaldo Cohen, Barry Douglas, Bruno Leonardo Gelber, Amy E. Gustafson, Garrick Ohlsson, and Steven Spooner; violinists Maria Bachmann, Jennifer Koh, and Kyoko Takezawa; guitarist Christoph Denoth; cellists Matt Haimovitz and Julian Lloyd-Weber; clarinetists Michael Collins and Jon Manasse; conductors Antonio de Almeida, Spiros Argiris, Sergiu Comissiona, Enrique Diemecke, JoAnn Falletta, Bernhard Klee, Vincent La Selva, and Hans Vonk. (For a complete list, please see below.)
The Future of Publicity: Some Thoughts
There are unsung heroes in many lines of work, but today’s classical musicians struggle harder than ever to be heard above the white noise of celebrity-driven publicity. A proliferation of first-rate performers competing for a small number of meaningful engagements has sharpened the necessity for differentiation among artists. Add to this the burgeoning of online outlets for self-expression and an annual influx of conservatory graduates numbering in the millions, and it becomes apparent that what it takes to be recognized is a carefully thought-through career strategy. Here’s where the classical music publicist can make a difference.
Over the centuries a fairly fixed number of people have remained interested in hearing old and new music; where once they listened to concerts in a salon or public venue, they now download and watch symphonies, arias, operas, and chamber music on YouTube in addition to attending live performances or collecting recordings. Some of the performance venues or methods may have changed, often blurring the boundaries between what is considered high and low art, but the desire to hear music of originality has remained a constant.
The classical music publicist must cope with irreversible changes: publishers and editors of traditional newspapers and print journals are scrambling to make it possible for their outlets to exist in a different configuration. To meet these new conditions Hemsing Associates has developed contacts with the burgeoning classical music and general interest online outlets, building on a strong twenty-year relationship with critics nationally and internationally. Many of the world’s most distinguished journalists still write for the traditional media and have supplemented their output with sophisticated and lively blogs; Hemsing Associates continues to reach these writers. Accuracy and speed are indispensable when announcing events, but the language that can distinguish one performer (or performers) from his peer has to catch the eye of busy and overburdened journalists. Despite complaints of standardization in contemporary performance styles, Hemsing Associates believes that no two artists are the same. Each individual has spent a lifetime—through hard work, reflection, and intuition—cultivating a singular approach to the music he carries within him. We do our best to bring the “story” of these special qualities to the favorable attention of the media, being careful to focus our efforts on matters of real musical substance, not on “style” alone.
For institutional accounts, we try to position client organizations in the forefront of contemporary cultural developments, making certain that all of our written and visual materials relating to a client institution reflect a high level of professionalism, worthy of the institutions we represent.
In recognition of the increasingly global nature of our artists’ engagements, Hemsing Associates was the first New York classical music public relations firm to handle publicity throughout Europe. In our main office we have language capability in German, French, Spanish, Polish, and Russian. We promote our artists on the Continent and, on a more limited basis, in Asia. Our main emphasis, however, remains strong in the print, electronic, and internet media, nationally and locally, in the United States and Canada.
We recognize the effects - both bad and good - of the decentralization of the recording industry and try to exploit the opportunities this trend can offer; we do our utmost to promote our artists’ recordings in an overcrowded market. Our publicity, marketing, and advertising campaigns for many CDs have generated reviews, in-store promotions, radio airplay, feature stories, and - in some cases - have led to concert engagements.
For emerging artists, performers wanting to launch a CD, and experienced musicians looking for a platform to present particular repertoire, we offer the possibility of producing concerts at venues ranging from the smallest to the most prestigious, from off the beaten track to mainstream. We have produced and promoted events at Steinway Hall; Yamaha Artists Services Piano Salon at Yamaha Artists Services; Faust Harrison; Klavierhaus; Merkin Concert Hall; Symphony Space; Kaufman Hall at the 92nd Street Y; Miller Theater at Columbia University; Howard Gilman Opera House at the Brooklyn Academy of Music; Walter Reade Theater, Alice Tully Hall and Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center, and Weill Hall, Zankel Hall, and Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall, and many others. We handle all technical details from ticket orders, contracts, and stage requirements to promoting the event to the media and everything in between: coordinating all the program elements including repertoire, biography, photographs, and program notes; designing posters, postcards, and brochures (we have an in-house graphic designer); filling the hall and inviting members of the classical music world, including managers and recordings executives; and organizing pre- and post-concert receptions and dinners.
As an accredited advertising agency, we have an extensive track record designing advertisements for recordings, recital and orchestral tours, and one-off concert performances. We offer the services of an experienced in-house graphic designer, but also gladly cooperate with outside designers, and have ties with excellent printing companies. Our rates for placing ads with the leading international and national newspapers, trade journals, and online media, are competitive and the positioning we obtain is advantageous.
In addition to creating the traditional promotional event, we also emphasize career counseling; long-term planning of artistic goals; and the importance of focusing on repertoire and, occasionally, on scheduling discussions, master classes, workshops, and concurrent exhibits around individual concerts or music cycles. Our efforts have yielded extensive local, national, and international coverage in general interest and trade publications. These have had a tangible effect on ticket sales and visibility. We also arrange and coordinate receptions and press conferences in conjunction with performances as well as the launching of new books and recordings, and the United States tours of foreign ensembles. In promoting cultural events, we have worked with the embassies and consulates of Canada, France, Germany, Austria, Greece, Poland, Russia, the United Kingdom as well as the United Nations.
Before founding Hemsing Associates, managing director Josephine Hemsing worked in the 1980s in the press department of the New York Philharmonic under Director Francis Little, for classical music publicist Audrey Michaels, and, for four years, as publicist at the Carson Office headed by Margaret Carson (accounts included Leonard Bernstein, Michael Tilson Thomas, Barry Tuckwell, The MacDowell Colony, and the American Academy and Institute of Arts Letters). During that period, she did graduate studies in theatre at the City University of New York Graduate Center. Hemsing also worked for legendary producer and theatrical agent Peter Witt in New York, in opera and theatre dramaturgy at the Freiburg State Theatre, Germany, on several Off-Off, Off & On Broadway productions, and for six years at ASCAP. Born in Paris to American parents, Hemsing holds a bachelor’s degree (1974) from Sarah Lawrence College (concentration in literature and in music composition and piano) and studied linguistics, philosophy, and literature at the Sorbonne in Paris.
Graphics designer Joanna Malinowska joined Hemsing Associates in 2001 upon receiving her M.F.A. degree in sculpture from Yale University. She also holds a B.F.A. degree (1998) from Rutgers University. Malinowska is the recipient of numerous grants, including the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship (2009), Smack Mellon Grant and Studio Program, Barry Cohen Award, Kosciuszko Foundation Scholarship, among others. Her work has been exhibited at the Tracy Williams Gallery, New York; Boston Center for the Arts; Venetia Kapernekas Gallery, New York; Canada Gallery, New York; Center for Contemporary Arts, Warsaw; Art in General, New York; 1st Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art, Moscow; Whitney Museum Studio and Curatorial Program, New York; International Biennale of Contemporary Art, Prague, among others.
General Interest/News Publications
Hemsing Associates has also represented the following: