The UConn School of Fine Arts Heilig Memorial Concert series presents Fred Hersch, a pervasively influential creative force who has shaped jazz music’s course over more than three decades as an improviser, composer, educator, bandleader, collaborator and recording artist. He has been proclaimed “the most arrestingly innovative pianist in jazz over the last decade” by Vanity Fair, “an elegant force of musical invention” by The L.A. Times, and “a living legend” by The New Yorker.
A twelve-time Grammy nominee, Hersch has regularly garnered jazz’s most prestigious awards, including recent distinctions as a 2016 Doris Duke Artist, 2016 and 2018 Jazz Pianist of the Year from the Jazz Journalists Association, and the 2017 Prix Honorem de Jazz from L’Acádemie Charles Cros for the totality of his career.
He has long set the standard for expressive interpretation and inventive creativity in a stunning variety of settings, whether through his exquisite solo performances, as the leader of one of jazz’s era-defining trios, or in eloquent dialogue with his deeply attuned duo partners.
With more than three-dozen albums to his credit as a leader or co-leader, Hersch consistently receives lavish critical praise and numerous international awards for each highly anticipated new release. His latest album with his long-standing trio, 2018’s Live In Europe (Palmetto), documents one remarkable evening in Brussels and has been hailed as its best to date – considerable praise for an ensemble that consistently plays at such a staggeringly high level.
For two decades Hersch has been a passionate spokesman and fund-raiser for AIDS services and education agencies. He 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. To date, his efforts have raised more than $300,000. He has also been a keynote speaker and performer at international medical conferences in the U.S. and Europe.
A committed educator, Hersch has taught at New England Conservatory, The Juilliard School, The New School and The Manhattan School of Music. He is currently a Visiting Artist at Rutgers University. He holds honorary doctorate degrees from Grinnell College and Northern Kentucky University. Hersch’s influence has been widely felt on a new generation of jazz pianists, from former students Brad Mehldau and Ethan Iverson to his colleague Jason Moran, who has said, “Fred at the piano is like LeBron James on the basketball court. He’s perfection.”
Fred Hersch will perform a FREE concert at UConn’s von der Mehden Recital Hall on Friday, October 5th at 8pm.
For more info and to reserve tickets visit vdm.uconn.edu.
Funding provided by the Charles and Alice Murray Heilig Annual Concert Fund.