LOGO

Fred Hersch, jazz piano

Saturday, August 1, 2015, 8 pm

The program will be announced from the stage.

There will be an intermission.

 

tomorrow

Sunday, August 2, 4 pm | Escher Quartet
Music of Haydn, Schubert, and Bartók

next week

Saturday, August 8, 11 am | YOUNG PEOPLE’S CONCERT - Miró Quartet
Admission is free for all young people under 16. Adults pay $5 each.

Saturday, August 8, 6 pm | Miró Quartet
Schubert: Quartet No. 15 in G Major, D. 887; Beethoven: Quartet No. 14 in C-sharp Minor, Op. 131

Sunday, August 9, 4 pm | Danish String Quartet
Music of Shostakovich, Carl Nielsen, and Thomas Adès (b. 1971)

 


 

ABOUT THE ARTIST
Jazz pianist and composer Fred Hersch was proclaimed by Vanity Fair magazine, “the most arrestingly innovative pianist in jazz over the last decade or so.” A five-time Grammy nominee, Hersch balances his internationally recognized instrumental skills with significant achievements as a composer, bandleader, and theatrical conceptualist, as well as remaining an in-demand collaborator with other noted bandleaders and vocalists. He was the first artist in the seventy-five-year history of New York’s legendary Village Vanguard to play weeklong engagements as a solo pianist. His second featured run is documented on the 2011 release, Alone at the Vanguard. He is the leader of a widely praised trio whose album Whirl found its way onto numerous 2010 best-recordings-of-the-year lists. He was the impetus behind the ambitious 2011 production, My Coma Dreams, a full-evening work for eleven instruments, actor/singer, and animation/multimedia. In a featured Sunday Magazine article in The New York Times, Hersch was praised as “singular among the trailblazers of their art, a largely unsung innovator of this borderless, individualistic jazz – a jazz for the twenty-first century.”

Hersch was nominated for two 2011 Grammy Awards for Alone at the Vanguard, for Best Jazz Album and Best Improvised Jazz Solo; these are his fourth and fifth nominations. His newest trio album, the two-CD Alive at the Vanguard, has been garnering wide critical acclaim as one of the best releases in his thirty-year recording career. It has been awarded the 2012 Grand Prix du Disque by the Académie Charles Cros in France and it was named one of the Best CDs of 2012 by Downbeat magazine.

In addition to his more than three-dozen recordings as a leader/co-leader, Hersch’s numerous awards include a 2003 Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship for composition and a Grammy nomination for Best Instrumental Composition, as well as two Grammy nominations for Best Jazz Instrumental Performance. Hersch has featured himself as either a solo performer or at the helm of varied small ensembles, which, in addition to his trio, include a quintet as well as his “Pocket Orchestra,” which features an unconventional lineup of piano, trumpet, voice, and percussion. Hersch is considered to be the most prolific and celebrated solo jazz pianist of his generation. In 2006, Palmetto Records released the solo CD Fred Hersch in Amsterdam: Live at the Bimhuis and 2009 welcomed his eighth solo disc, Fred Hersch Plays Jobim, cited as one of the year’s Top Ten jazz releases by NPR and the Wall Street Journal. Alone won the Coup de Coeur of the Académie Charles Cros in France, and 2011 also saw Hersch place fourth in the Downbeat Critic’s Poll and win as Jazz Pianist of the Year by the Jazz Journalists Association.

Hersch’s career as a performer has been greatly enhanced by his composing activities, a vital part of nearly all his live concerts and recordings. In 2003, he created Leaves of Grass (Palmetto Records), a large-scale setting of Walt Whitman’s poetry for two voices and an instrumental octet; the work was presented in March 2005 in a sold-out performance at Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall, with Kurt Elling and Kate McGarry as soloists, as part of a six-city US tour. More than seventy of Hersch’s jazz compositions have been recorded by him and by numerous other artists. His 2010 multimedia theatrical project My Coma Dreams is a full-evening work for actor/singer, eleven instrumentalists, and animation/computer-generated imagery; it was based on dreams he retained after emerging from a two-month coma in the summer of 2008.

Hersch has collaborated with an astonishing range of instrumentalists and vocalists throughout the worlds of jazz (Joe Henderson, Charlie Haden, Art Farmer, Stan Getz, and Bill Frisell); classical (Renée Fleming, Dawn Upshaw, and Christopher O’Riley); and Broadway (Audra McDonald). Long admired for his sympathetic work with singers, Hersch has joined with such notable jazz vocalists as Nancy King, Norma Winstone, and Kurt Elling. Hersch has received commissions from the Gilmore Keyboard Festival, the Doris Duke Foundation, the Miller Theatre at Columbia University, the Gramercy Trio, and the Brooklyn Youth Chorus. A disc of his through-composed works, Fred Hersch: Concert Music 2001–2006, has been released by Naxos Records; these works are published by the prestigious firm Edition Peters.

Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1955, Hersch began playing the piano at age four, and was composing music by age eight and winning national piano competitions starting at the age of ten. He has been awarded a Rockefeller Fellowship, grants from Chamber Music America, the National Endowment for the Arts, and Meet the Composer, and seven composition residencies at the MacDowell Colony. In addition to a wide variety of National Public Radio programs including Fresh Air, Jazz Set, Studio 360, and Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz, Hersch has also appeared on CBS Sunday Morning with Dr. Billy Taylor. A committed educator, Hersch has taught at The New School and the Manhattan School of Music, and conducted a Professional Training Workshop for Young Musicians at the Weill Institute at Carnegie Hall in 2008. He is currently on the Jazz Studies faculty of the New England Conservatory.

A passionate spokesman and fund-raiser for AIDS services and education agencies since 1993, Hersch has produced and performed on four benefit recordings and in numerous concerts for charities including Classical Action: Performing Arts Against AIDS and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, which have raised over $250,000 to date. He has also been the keynote speaker and performer at international medical conferences in the US and Europe.

Hersch’s influence has been widely felt on a new generation of jazz pianists, from former Hersch students including Brad Mehldau and Ethan Iverson of the Bad Plus, to his contemporary Jason Moran, who has said: “Fred at the piano is like LeBron James on the basketball court. He’s perfection.”

An artist of unbounded imagination, ambition, and skill, Hersch is, as Downbeat magazine aptly declared, “one of the small handful of brilliant musicians of his generation.”