Recognized for her “quicksilver passagework” and “tender lyricism” (The Washington Post), yet not afraid to shout, swing her foot onto the piano or don fingerless gloves if the music demands it, pianist Francesca Hurst divides her playing evenly between classical and contemporary music. Classically trained, she fell into the new music scene in 2013 when she stepped in last minute for a gig with Great Noise Ensemble. At ease with a wide repertoire ranging from J.S. Bach to Caroline Shaw, and with a passion for performing the music of living women composers, she makes sense of the music regardless of style and period. During the pandemic, she created the 100-day online series Daily Dose of Piano, which featured music from the Baroque to today, including 14 premieres.
A native of Washington, DC, Dr. Hurst was recently named to the Virginia Commission for the Arts’ Performing Artists Touring Roster. She has performed at such venues as the Kennedy Center, the National Gallery of Art, and the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC, Brookfield Place in New York, and internationally in Italy, Portugal, Bulgaria, and most recently in France, where she gave a concert with flutist Robert Cart at the American Cathedral in Paris. She has appeared as a solo and collaborative guest artist at many new music festivals, including the Atlantic Music Festival, the Bang on a Can Music Marathon, New Music Gathering, and Charlotte New Music Festival. Dr. Hurst has performed and premiered music by composers like Armando Bayolo, Martin Bresnick, Rahilia Hasanova, and Marc Mellits, and was a member of Great Noise Ensemble for many years. Other collaborations include performances with the United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own”, Newprism Ensemble, and Karen Reedy Dance, and a yearlong residency with the Polaris Piano Trio in 2019, a group dedicated to performing music by women and composers of African descent.
An effective and innovative teacher, Dr. Hurst creates an inclusive and positive learning atmosphere where students feel welcomed, valued, and respected. Outside of CUA, Dr. Hurst maintains a thriving private piano studio in northern Virginia, and she also taught for several years at Trinity Washington University. She is a member of the Music Teachers National Association, the College Music Society, the Musicians Club of Women, and MusicLink Foundation, and is often invited to judge competitions and give master classes. Francesca holds a DMA and MM in Piano Performance from The Catholic University of America, as well as a BFA in Piano and a BA in Italian from Tulane University.