Miguel Kertsman was born in Recife, Brazil, and grew up in a European home, surrounded by traditional Western classical music as well as the multi-ethnic music and rhythms of Northeastern Brazil.
In 1984 he was awarded The Oscar Peterson Jazz Masters Incentive Award and The Berklee Professional Music Scholarship to attend the Berklee College of Music in Boston, from where he graduated in record time in 1986. He studied conducting with Attilio Poto at the Boston Conservatory, and composition with Jeronimas Kacinkas and later Stanley Wolfe at Juilliard.
His first symphonic work, "Amazonia", written at age 19 in 1985, was performed by orchestras across Brazil, among others at Bienal in Rio de Janeiro, in Sao Paolo and at the international IDRIART festival, conducted by the late Eleazar de Carvalho.
Early performances of his chamber music and jazz works were presented by Carnegie's Weill Hall, the Knitting Factory and BargeMusic in New York while more recently two of Kertsman's symphonic works and his flute concerto saw performances and recordings with conductor Dennis Russell Davies and as soloist Vienna Philharmonic's principal flutist Wolfgang Schultz in Austria and Slovakia - the commission of a second flute concerto by Marina Piccinini and the Austrian Flute Society premiered at Vienna's Konzerthaus in late 2005.