January 25, 2023

Healing with Music Series Presents Concert, Screening

HEALING THROUGH MUSIC: Jazz pianist Fred Hersch appears at Richardson Auditorium with “Breath by Breath: Responding to Illness Through Music,” on February 9. (Photo by Herman Blaustein)

Jazz pianist and 15-time Grammy nominee Fred Hersch makes his Princeton University Concerts (PUC) debut on Thursday, February 9 at 7:30 p.m. in Richardson Auditorium with “Breath by Breath: Responding to Illness Through Music,” a Healing with Music series event. Tickets are $10-$40.

Earlier that day, at 12:30 p.m., Hersch will perform as part of PUC’s Live Music Meditation series. Silent meditation begins at 12 p.m. Admission to that event is free.

On Wednesday, February 8 at 7:30 p.m., the Princeton Garden Theatre will introduce audiences to the pianist’s story through a documentary screening of The Ballad of Fred Hersch, including a live post-screening discussion with Hersch, moderated by his student, PUC artist and local composer/pianist Gregg Kallor. The theater is at 160 Nassau Street. Admission is $9-$14.

The Healing with Music Series, Princeton University Concerts invites audiences to hear from musicians whose personal stories of facing illness and upheaval shed light on music’s profound impact. Hersch was one of the first openly gay, HIV-positive jazz musicians. Amidst the demands of an internationally celebrated career, he spent several months in an AIDS-related coma in 2008.

For his program on February 9, Hersch will discuss his profound relationship to music and share “Breath by Breath” — a suite of nine original compositions written during the pandemic, inspired by his longtime practice of mindfulness meditation. He will be joined onstage by bassist Drew Gress, percussionist Jochen Rückert, and the Crosby Street String Quartet. Throughout the performance, Hersch will speak about his creative process and healing journey. After the performance, Hersch will open the floor for audience Q&A.

“Fred Hersch is the embodiment of Healing with Music — an endlessly inspiring musician who is a living testament of music’s ability to heal. It feels so right that his long-awaited Princeton University Concerts debut will incorporate a Live Music Meditation in addition to his evening performance,” said PUC Outreach Manager Dasha Koltunyuk. “We often say our Live Music Meditation series is a chance to ‘breathe in music,’ and that concept will come to life in multiple ways during Fred’s visit — highlighting music’s intrinsic role in our lives, and how it can clear new paths, even in the face of adversity. We hope both these events with Fred Hersch will provide audiences hopeful paths as they navigate challenges in their own lives.”

Visit puc.princeton.edu for more information.