Doris Duke Artist Award, 2016
New York, NY
Fred Hersch began playing the piano at age four and started composing at eight. Deemed “the most arrestingly innovative pianist in jazz over the last decade,” (Vanity Fair) he has earned eight Grammy nominations as jazz pianist and composer. His latest trio recording with bassist John Hébert and drummer Eric McPherson, Floating (Palmetto, 2014) was nominated for two Grammys (Best Jazz Album and Best Jazz Solo). His theatrical piece My Coma Dreams (2010) is based on visions he had during a two-month coma, and features an actor/singer, 11 instrumentalists, and multimedia elements. He has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Chamber Music America French-American Jazz Exchange award, and was named Jazz Pianist of the Year by the Jazz Journalists Association in 2011, among others. He is a spokesperson and fund-raiser for AIDS services and education agencies, raising more than $300,000 over two decades. He is on the Jazz Studies faculty at Rutgers University.