Famed Jazz pianist Fred Hersch will be performing a benefit concert at 8 p.m. Nov. 15 in Weigel Auditorium, to support the Mark Moffett Jr. Scholarship.
The Moffett Scholarship, which is offered at Ohio State’s School of Music, gives $1,500 annually to a GLBT student enrolled in the School of Music. Moffett, also a pianist, died of HIV-related cancer in 2000. The scholarship is more than halfway to its endowment that will ensure its future.
Hersch, a Cincinnati native, has been playing music since he was 4 years old and has been involved with more than 100 recordings. As a pianist, he has become known throughout the jazz world for his prolific career and compositions.
“I am thrilled. [Moffett] is such a gracious man that he would call back and say that he would love to do it,” said Paul Lockwood, spokesman for the Ohio State School of Music and Moffett’s partner.
Hersch is active in awareness and education. He has four benefit CDs: “Two hands, Ten Voices,” “The Richard Rodgers Centennial Jazz Piano Album,” “Fred Hersch & Friends: The Duo Album” and “Last Night When We Were Young: The Ballad Album.” All can be purchased at bcefa.org.
The albums were produced through donations of studio time and talent, and 100 percent of proceeds go toward AIDS awareness. They have earned more than $250,000 for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
“It’s good Karma,” Hersch said in a phone interview. “Being HIV positive myself, I have felt the need to come out and be outspoken and make people understand this is in no way a death sentence.”
Besides being a renowned musician, Hersch is also an educator. He is currently a visiting professor at Western Michigan University and is a Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship recipient.
“[Teaching is] an adjunct income, but I feel that it’s important,” Hersch said. “I’ve been lucky to have a lot of amazing students.”
The audience will experience a variety of Hersch’s work at the concert. His performance will be a mixture of original pieces, standards and jazz compositions.
“I program as I go sometimes. I don’t really set everything until I am into the concert,” Hersch said. “That’s the great part of playing a solo concert.”
Weigel Auditorium is located in Weigel Hall at 1866 College Rd. Advance tickets to the concert cost $17 for adults and $12 for students and seniors. They can be purchased at the OSU Theater Box Office in Drake Hall or by phone by calling (614) 292-2295. Tickets purchased at the door are $20 for adults and $15 for students and seniors. Only cash or check is accepted at the door.