Fred Hersch is a brilliant pianist and composer. During a career spanning more than 20
years, he has received nearly universal acclaim for his ability to re-invent
the standard jazz repertoire. He arrived in New York in 1977 and began working
as a sideman with such musicians as Stan Getz, Joe Henderson, Toots Thielemans,
Art Farmer, Jane Ira Bloom, Charlie Haden and Eddie Daniels. He has also worked
with vocalists such as the Manhattan Transfer's Janis Siegel, jazz legend
Andy Bey and classical soprano Dawn Upshaw, and gained a strong reputation
as leader of his own groups. Mr. Hersch taught at the New England Conservatory
of Music in Boston1980-86, and has since been on the faculty at the New School
in New York. As a soloist he has given concerts at festivals and concert
halls throughout North America and Europe. Mr. Hersch has released eighteen albums as a solo artist or bandleader; two received Grammy Award Nominations. He has co-led another 20 albums
and played as sideman or featured soloist on more than 80 other recordings.
In 1996, he recorded Passion Flower, an acclaimed tribute to the
great Billy Strayhorn. He is a visible and passionate spokesman and
fundraiser for AIDS research and relief agencies and has produced and played
on two albums that raised more than $150,000 for AIDS services and education. Mr.
Hersch’s recordings include Songs
Without Words (Nonesuch, 2001), a three CD set containing mostly
solo piano recordings and honored by the French Academie du Jazz as 2001Disc of the Year. His album The Fred
Hersch Trio: Live at the Village Vanguard (Palmetto, 2003) features compositions
by Hersch, Monk and Shorter and showcases his new trio (Drew Gress, bass &
Nasheet Waits, drums). Mr Hersch has had a two-piano partnership with concert
pianist Jeffrey Kahane, has given duo concerts with violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg,
and has appeared as a soloist with leading orchestras in the U.S. and Europe.
In 2003-04 he will tour with concert pianist Christopher O'Riley in a program
entitled “Heard Fresh: Music for Two Pianos.” In 1999 Hersh’s dance score
for Out Someplace, commissioned by The Doris Duke Foundation's Millennium
Project for the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, was premiered at the
Kennedy Center. His solo piano composition, 24 Variations on a Bach Chorale,
received its world premiere by Jeffrey Kahane in San Francisco in November,
2002. Songs & Lullabyes, a duo CD with vocalist Norma Winstone
comprised of 11 compositions by Hersch with lyrics by Winstone (with guest
Gary Burton on vibes), will be released in March 2003 on the Sunnyside label.
Leaves of Grass, Hersch's multi-media full-evening work inspired by
the poetry of Walt Whitman for two voices (Kurt Elling and Norma Winstone)
and an ensemble of eight instruments, will be premiered in April. Fred Hirsch
appeared on March 12, 1998 in solo recital at the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater
as part of the Art Tatum Piano Panorama.