Although he is, like most of us, largely confined to his home right now, pianist Fred Hersch is keeping busy.
Always one to jump the hurdles of adversity, Hersch isn’t letting canceled gigs and isolation from his fellow musicians stop him from making music for a receptive audience. As of Sunday, March 22, and continuing every afternoon at 1 p.m. EDT, he is webcasting live from the piano in his Milford, Pennsylvania home. For each webcast, he performs a single, unaccompanied tune—the “Tune of the Day,” as he has styled it.
The inaugural episode actually included three tunes: Hersch’s original composition “Valentine,” Billy Strayhorn’s “Upper Manhattan Medical Group” (or “U.M.M.G.”), and Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “It Might as Well Be Spring.”
Hersch shortened the Tune of the Day format on March 23, playing his “At the Close of the Day.” On March 24, he performed Thelonious Monk’s “Eronel.”
The Tune of the Day series will continue, Hersch promises, “for the duration, however many weeks and months that is.” He is soliciting requests for songs that he can use to fill that time.
A livestream begins every day at 1 p.m. EDT on his Facebook page, and an archived copy can be streamed there afterward. (Hersch has also announced that he is exploring the possibility of changing the livestream venue to YouTube.)
All that said, one need not limit oneself to short several-minute bursts of Hersch in the afternoon. As of today, March 24, The Ballad of Fred Hersch—the 2016 documentary feature film by Carrie Lozano and Charlotte Lagarde that chronicles the pianist’s remarkable life and career—is streaming for free to the public at Vimeo.