World Premiere of Fred Hersch & Mary Jo Salter's ROOMS OF LIGHT Set for Peak Performances, 10/15-18

World Premiere of Fred Hersch & Mary Jo Salter's ROOMS OF LIGHT Set for Peak Performances, 10/15-18

Take a picture: it lasts forever. Award-winning composer/jazz pianist Fred Hersch, who turns 60 on October 21st, collaborates with acclaimed poet/playwright Mary Jo Salter for ROOMS OF LIGHT, a staged song cycle for five singers, with a set, lighting design and a chamber ensemble. This is Fred's third commission for Peak Performances and the acoustic splendor of the Alexander Kasser Theater is the perfect venue for his adventurous and beautiful music.

ROOMS OF LIGHT explores the impact that photography has had on us -- how this most accessible of art forms has enriched, compromised and complicated our lives since its invention in 1827. Many forms of photography are lovingly and critically examined: the wedding album, the X-ray and sonogram, the tourist snapshot, the photos sent back from outer space and deep sea exploration, the iconic photos of the great photographers, the celebrity shots, the ubiquitous porn and more ubiquitous advertising, the iPhone and its apps that have delivered unto us the narcissist's best friend: the selfie. For centuries fleeting moments could only be retained in our memories. Because photography captures our moments and pins them to the wall of eternity, it summons the Big|Brave Questions about visual reality, the ephemeral gift of life and the relativity of time. We can chart our joys and our deterioration and revisit the lies we tell ourselves and others. Hersch's compositional skills as well as his ability to set a variety of texts in an amazing range of musical expressions is on full display. In a recent Downbeat interview Fred said, "I have a big musical soup in my head and different things come out." Mary Jo Salter can summon a range of emotions from light to dark in her superbly crafted and heartfelt lyrics. With ROOMS OF LIGHT, these two masters of their art illuminate the impact of an art form we often take for granted.

Directed by Daniella Topol, ROOMS OF LIGHT stars singers Jonathan Estabrooks, Rebecca Faulkenberry, Kathryn Guthrie, Gabielle Starvelli and Michael Winther; the Fred Hersch Ensemble with Sam Sadigursky and Bruce Williamson, woodwinds; Laura Seaton, violin; Lois Martin, viola; Jody Redhage, cello; Matt Aronoff, bass; Ross Pederson, drums; and Fred Hersch, piano. Gregg Kallor serves as music director/conductor and lighting is by Eric Cornwell. Produced and score commissioned by Peak Performances at Montclair State University.

The performances are October 15, 16 at 7:30 pm; October 17 at 8:00 pm; Sunday, October 18 at 3:00 pm. The Alexander Kasser Theater at Montclair State University is located at 1 Normal Avenue, Montclair, New Jersey 07043. Tickets are $20, and are available at the box office,, or by calling 973-655-5112.

Charter bus service is provided from New York City's Port Authority Bus Terminal - arcade on 41st Street between 8th and 9th Avenues - to the Alexander Kasser Theater ($10 per person, round trip) for all Saturday and Sunday performances. Bus reservations may be made by calling 973-655-5112 or by visiting

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