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New England Conservatory Presents Acclaimed Pianist Fred Hersch in Solo Performance Thursday, October 29 at 7:30 p.m. Solo Piano Masterclass on Wednesday, October 28
(Published: October 24, 2015)

Hersch is celebrating his new Palmetto recording Fred Hersch: Solo
as well as his 60th birthday and 40th anniversary of his arrival as an NEC student

"5-stars. When it comes to the art of solo piano in jazz there are currently two classes of performers: Fred Hersch and everybody else." - Dan Bilawsky, All About Jazz

"His sublime lyricism, exquisite touch, sensitive dynamic control, and lush harmonizations are unequaled in a solo setting." - Peter Margasak, Chicago Reader

New England Conservatory presents a solo recital by 8-time Grammy® nominee Fred Hersch, "a pianist, composer and conceptualist of rare imaginative power" (Nate Chinen, NY Times), at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 29. The concert celebrates Hersch's 60th birthday (October 21), his new recording Fred Hersch Solo, and the 40th anniversary of his arrival at NEC as a student. The concert takes place at NEC's Jordan Hall, 290 Huntington Avenue, Boston. Hersch will also conduct a masterclass for solo piano students on Wednesday, October 28 at 1 p.m. in Pierce Hall. Both events are free and open to the public. For more information, go to necmusic.edu or call 617-585-1122.

This concert is just one in an array of Hersch 60th birthday events this fall. He recently performed at both the Newport and Chicago Jazz Festivals, and his new work Rooms of Light: The Life of Photographs (A Song Cycle) commissioned by Peak Performances at Montclair State University has its world premiere October 15 - 18. His birthday celebration continues with trio performances at the Village Vanguard from October 20 - 25.

Fred Hersch: Solo has earned wide critical acclaim including a cover story in DownBeat.

"The set of seven tracks soars sonically, spiritually and artistically. Hersch never rushes to make his points. The keystrokes flow like rivulets into a mighty river-each note and chord clear, full of joy, sorrow and truth." - Frank Alkyer, DownBeat

"Hersch is a naturally elegant, erudite improviser who thinks in terms of overall governing form. But on this night, his passion causes songs to spill free. He sounds impulsive, daring and bursting with creative energy." - Thomas Conrad, Jazz Times

"Here is one of the greats of contemporary jazz piano - elegant, erudite, playful,
emotional, engaged and thoroughly engaging - giving what he considers to be one of his best performances of recent years." -Cormac Larkin, The Irish Times
This is one of over 100 free concerts and workshops presented by NEC's Jazz and Contemporary Improvisation departments for the 2015-2016 season. Other highlights include a Gunther Schuller Memorial Concert, birthday concerts for Anthony Coleman 60, and Ran Blake 80, workshops/master classes by top flight musicians including Dave Holland; recitals by stellar NEC faculty including Ken Schaphorst, Dominique Eade, Eden MacAdam-Somer and Bob Nieske; and In the Mix and CI Salon Nights, 81 one-hour concerts featuring exceptional student ensembles. All concerts are free and open to the public.

NEC's Jazz Studies Department was the first fully accredited jazz studies program at a music conservatory. The brainchild of Gunther Schuller, who moved quickly to incorporate jazz into the curriculum when he became President of the Conservatory in 1967, the Jazz Studies faculty has included six MacArthur "genius" grant recipients (three currently teaching) and four NEA Jazz Masters, and alumni that reads like a who's who of jazz. Now in its 45th year, the program has spawned numerous Grammy winning composers and performers. As Mike West writes in JazzTimes: "NEC's jazz studies department is among the most acclaimed and successful in the world; so says the roster of visionary artists that have comprised both its faculty and alumni." The program currently has 95 students; 48 undergraduate and 47 graduate students from 13 countries.
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