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Fred Hersch, Piano

with Clemency Burton-Hill, Host

Princeton University Concerts Debut


Thursday, February 9, 2023, 7:30 PM EST


Richardson Auditorium, Alexander Hall


This event is currently available as part of a subscription package only. Single tickets will go on sale online only on Monday, August 1 and by phone on Tuesday, September 6.  Subscribe | Ticketing & COVID-19 Policies

the most arrestingly innovative pianist in jazz over the last decade”

—Vanity Fair

Healing with Music

About the Event

“A living legend” (The New Yorker) within jazz’s piano pantheon, fifteen-time GRAMMY nominee Fred Hersch was also the first openly gay, HIV-positive jazz musician. Amidst the demands of an internationally celebrated career, he spent several months in an AIDS-related coma in 2008. And yet, as he shared in an interview on NPR’s “Fresh Air:”

“Certainly since the coma … there seems to be more relaxation, maybe more depth, more direct connection to what I’m playing. I realized when I was that far down that I really wasn’t done yet. There was more that I had to do as a musician, as a partner.”

He makes his Princeton University Concerts debut, as part of our new Healing with Music series, to discuss this 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. Through this combination of performance and conversation with series host Clemency Burton-Hill, we will come together to breathe in the life-affirming power of music, guided by an endlessly-inspiring musician who is a living testament to music’s ability to heal.


Humans have been using sounds as a way to exist and endure since the start of time. As we return to the concert hall after the trauma of a pandemic, we will be guided by three artists whose stories of resilience in facing illness and personal upheaval shed light on music’s profound impact in events combining conversation and live performance.

PLEASE NOTE: All attendees will be required to show photo ID and proof that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to the maximum extent, which now includes a booster shot for all eligible to receive it. Please read our COVID-19 policies in advance of attendance.

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Fred Hersch Piano

Clemency Burton-Hill Host

Drew Gress Bass

Jochen Rückert Drums

Crosby String Quartet


  • "Breath by Breath"

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