Fred Hersch

Distinguished Artist, Jazz Piano

Proclaimed by Vanity Fair magazine as “the most arrestingly innovative pianist in jazz over the last decade or so,” Fred Hersch is a pianist, composer, bandleader, and theatrical conceptualist.

In 2006 he became the first artist in the 75-year history of New York's legendary Village Vanguard to play a week-long engagement as a solo pianist. Hersch’s 2010 theatrical project, My Coma Dreams, has been performed in Montclair, NJ; New York City; San Francisco; and Berlin. Based on visions Hersch had during a two-month coma in 2008, it includes full-evening work for an actor/singer, 11 instrumentalists and animation/multimedia. The New York Times praised him in the featured article as “singular among the trailblazers of their art, a largely unsung innovator of this borderless, individualistic jazz--a jazz for the 21st century.”

He was nominated for Best Improvised Jazz Solo and his album Alone at the Vanguard was nominated for Best Jazz Album at the 2011 Grammy® Awards. These were his fourth and fifth nominations. His trio album, Alive at the Vanguard, was awarded the 2012 Grand Prix du Disque by the Académie Charles Cros in France and made the Best Jazz CDs of 2012 list on and in Downbeat.