Multiple Grammy nominee and jazz pianist Fred Hersch and his New York-based Trio will perform at Hope College on Wednesday, Jan. 29, at 7:30 p.m. at the Knickerbocker Theatre in downtown Holland.
Proclaimed by “Vanity Fair” magazine as “the most arrestingly innovative pianist in jazz over the last decade or so,” six-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 band leaders and vocalists.
On multiple levels, Hersch has fully lived up to the approbation of the “New York Times” which, in a featured “Sunday Magazine” article, praised him as “singular among the trailblazers of their art, a largely unsung innovator of this borderless, individualistic jazz – a jazz for the 21st century.” Among other achievements he was the first artist in the 75-year history of New York’s legendary Village Vanguard to play week-long engagements as a solo pianist (his second featured run is documented on the 2011 release “Alone at the Vanguard”); he is leader of a widely praised trio whose “Whirl” found its way onto numerous 2010 best-recordings-of-the-year lists; and he was the impetus behind the ambitious 2011 production, “My Coma Dreams,” a full-evening work for 11 instrumentalists, actor/singer and animation/multimedia.
He was nominated for two 2011 Grammy Awards for “Alone at the Vanguard”: for Best Jazz Album and Best Improvised Jazz Solo. His newest trio album is a two-CD set, “Alive at the Vanguard,” which has been garnering wide critical acclaim as one of his best releases in his 30-year recording career, and has been awarded the 2012 Grand Prix du Disque by the Académie Charles Cros in France and named one of the Best CDs of 2012 by “Downbeat Magazine.” He has been nominated for his sixth Grammy Award for his solo on “Duet” from the CD “Free Flying,” a duo album with guitarist Julian Lage; the disc received a rare 5-Star rating from “Downbeat Magazine.”
Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1955, Hersch began playing the piano at age four, and was composing music by age eight and began winning national piano competitions at age 10. He has been awarded a Rockefeller Fellowship for a Bellagio residency, 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,” he has appeared on “CBS Sunday Morning” with Dr. Billy Taylor.
A committed educator, Hersch has taught at The Juilliard School, The New School and 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 and at Rutgers University.
Tickets for the 7:30 p.m. concert are $10 for regular admission, $7 for senior citizens, $5 for students with valid ID, and free for Hope College students, faculty and staff, and are available at the ticket offices in the main lobby of the DeVos Fieldhouse (222 Fairbanks Ave.) and the Events and Conferences Office located downtown in the Anderson-Werkman Financial Center (100 E. Eighth St.). Both offices are open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are also available online at tickets.hope.edu/ticketing/ or by calling (616) 395-7890.
In addition to the evening concert, The Fred Hersch Trio will present a clinic at 3 p.m. at the Knickerbocker Theatre. The clinic is free and open to the public.
The Knickerbocker Theatre is located at 86 E. Eighth St.