Pianist and composer Fred Hersch has been called a "pianist, composer, and conceptualist of rare imaginative power" by The New York Times and has earned a place among the foremost jazz artists in the world today. He is widely recognized for his ability to create a unique body of original works while reinventing the standard jazz repertoire – investing time-tested classics with keen insight, fresh ideas, and extraordinary technique. Hersch's numerous accomplishments include a 2003 Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship for composition, nine residencies at The MacDowell Colony, a fellowship at Bellagio and 14 Grammy nominations -- including one for best instrumental composition. He has appeared on more than 100 recordings, including more than three-dozen albums as bandleader/solo pianist.
Hersch's career as a performer has been greatly enhanced by his composing activities, a vital part of nearly all of his live concerts and recordings. His concert music is published by Edition Peters and he has received numerous commissions from a wide variety of artists, including the Gilmore Keyboard Festival, The Opus 21 Ensemble, The Brooklyn Youth Chorus, and others. He created Leaves of Grass, a large-scale setting of Walt Whitman's poetry for two voices and an instrumental octet; and his 2011 extended composition My Coma Dreams, a 2011 jazz/theater piece for actor/singer, large ensemble and animation/multimedia that was commissioned by Peak Performances at Montclair State University and has been performed in Berlin, San Francisco, and New York. His memoir, Good Things Happen Slowly: A Life In and Out of Jazz, was released in 2017 from Random House/Crown Archetype Books; it was named One of 2017's Best Memoirs by The New York Times and The Washington Post.