Fred Hersch Harlem in the Himalayas
Pianist and composer Fred Hersch has earned his place among the foremost jazz artists and creative musicians in the world today. He is widely recognized for his ability to steadfastly create a unique body of original works while reinventing the standard jazz repertoire--investing time-tested classics with keen insight, fresh ideas, and extraordinary technique.
Hersch's many accomplishments include two Grammy nominations for Best Jazz Instrumental Performance and one for Best Instrumental Composition, and a 2003 Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship for composition.
"Hersch's work has developed an intensity of intelligence and emotional directness unparalleled among his peers."
Steve Futterman, The New Yorker
"Mr. Hersch has developed a solo concept second to none in jazz."
Ben Ratliff, The New York Times
In 2006, Palmetto Records released the solo disc Fred Hersch in Amsterdam: Live at the Bimhuis; its release led to Hersch becoming the first pianist in the 70-year history of New York's legendary Village Vanguard to play an entire week as a solo pianist shortly after the disc's release. In addition, he leads a trio, a quintet and has ongoing special collaborations with jazz and classical instrumentalists and vocalists around the world. His most recent recording, the trio CD Night and the Music, was released by Palmetto May 1st, 2007. His career as a performer has been greatly enhanced by his composing activities, a vital part of nearly all of his live concerts and recordings. Hersch recently created Leaves of Grass (Palmetto Records), a large-scale setting of Walt Whitman's poetry for two voices (Kurt Elling and Kate McGarry) and an instrumental octet; the work was presented in March 2005 in a sold-out performance at Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall. Hersch has toured with concert pianist Christopher O'Riley ("Heard Fresh: Music for Two Pianos") and he has also collaborated sopranos Renée Fleming, Audra McDonald and Dawn Upshaw; violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg; and pianist Jeffrey Kahane. He 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. His solo piano compositions and chamber music are published by Edition Peters. Hersch has acted as a passionate spokesman and fund-raiser for AIDS services and education agencies since 1993. He has produced and performed on four benefit recordings and at numerous concerts for the charities Classical Action: Performing Arts Against AIDS and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS that have raised over $200,000 to date. Hersch is currently a visiting professor at Western Michigan University.