"Fred at the piano is like LeBron James on the basketball court. He’s perfection.” - Jason Moran
“Hersch’s work has developed an intensity of intelligence and emotional directness unparalleled among his peers.” -The New Yorker
"One of the small handful of brilliant musicians of his generation." - Downbeat
"...a pianist, composer and conceptualist of rare imaginative power." - Nate Chinen, The New York Times
“The most arrestingly innovative pianist in jazz over the last decade or so” - Vanity Fair Magazine
“A quiet, unassuming monster of a pianist.” - New York Magazine
"His style has a lot to do with thinking as an individual, and it has a lot to do with beauty. I wouldn’t be doing what I do if I hadn’t learned from Fred..." -Brad Mehldau
The art of jazz piano owes much to Fred Hersch. Notwithstanding above comparisons including a monster, a basketball player and a conceptualist, Fred also happens to be among the most gifted jazz pianists in the world. Over the years Fred has mentored many greats, including little known players like Brad Mehldau, plus nearly everybody else. Fred has collaborated with an astonishing range of instrumentalists and vocalists throughout worlds of jazz, classical, and Broadway.
Fred was the first artist in the 75-year history of New York's Village Vanguard to play week-long engagements as a solo pianist. You can hear the second of these on the Grammy-nominated 2011 release, Alone at the Vanguard.
Fred 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. He has been awarded a a 2003 Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship for composition, a Rockefeller Fellowship, 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, Hersch has also appeared on CBS Sunday Morning with Dr. Billy Taylor. More remarkable yet is that Fred still makes time to teach and perform despite managing this relentless avalanche of well-deserved recognition.
A committed educator, Fred has taught at 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 a visiting professor at Western Michigan University and on the Jazz Studies faculty of The New England Conservatory.
A passionate spokesman and fund-raiser for AIDS services and education agencies since 1993, Hersch has produced and performed on benefit recordings and numerous concerts for charities including Classical Action: Performing Arts Against AIDS and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS that have raised over $250,000 to date. He has also been the keynote speaker and performer at international medical conferences in the U.S. and Europe.