Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Fred Hersch MY COMA DREAMS Available For Free Streaming Beginning This Friday

Fred Hersch MY COMA DREAMS Available For Free Streaming Beginning This Friday

Iconic pianist and composer Fred Hersch to offer free streaming of acclaimed jazz theater piece My Coma Dreams beginning Friday, July 17, 2020

Inspired by Hersch's near-death experience, the work was created,
written and directed by Herschel Garfein and features actor/singer Michael Winther

My Coma Dreams, the extraordinary jazz theater piece based on the personal experience of Grammy-nominated pianist/composer Fred Hersch, who survived a two-month medically induced coma, will be available for free streaming beginning Friday, July 17 via YouTube. This video is best experienced with headphones or on stereo speakers.

The piece brings together original music by Hersch, "singular among trailblazers of his art" (Vanity Fair), and a script by Grammy-winning writer/director Herschel Garfein, whose "themes are deeply American, and rooted in the mores of Generations X and Y" (Time Out NY). The performance features singer/actor Michael Winther, "a theater singer of unusual refinement" with "a voice that traverses genres" (NY Times)accompanied by an 11-piece ensemble "swinging like mad." (All About Jazz). The multimedia presentation also features animation by Sarah Wickliffe and computer imagery generated by Eamonn Farrell. The 11-piece instrumental ensemble led by Hersch includes such jazz heavyweights as drummer John Hollenbeck, bassist John Hébert, trumpeter Ralph Alessi and reed player Adam Kolker along with a string quartet featuring violinist/violist Joyce Hammann and cellist Dave Eggar. The performance was filmed with multiple cameras by videographer Ross Karre with sound design and recording by Jody Elff.

My Coma Dreams is based on eight dreams and nightmares experienced by Hersch while in a coma during the summer of 2008. Garfein shaped the dream stories into a continuous narrative that illuminates an extraordinary journey to the dividing line between life and death. Winther narrates, sings, and plays the dual roles of Fred and his partner, Scott. My Coma Dreams was originally released on DVD by Palmetto Records on November 25, 2014.

Hersch's coma experiences were also chronicled in his acclaimed 2017 memoir, "Good Things Happen Slowly," which was featured in the Sunday New York Times and on NPR's "Fresh Air," named one of 2017's Five Best Memoirs by the Washington Post and The New York Times, and acclaimed as 2018's Book on Jazz of the Year by the Jazz Journalists Association.

Haunting and lyrical, at times humorous and frightening, My Coma Dreams pushes the boundary of music and theater into a realm that is deeply personal and inescapably universal. The show has earned wide critical acclaim. Jesse Hamlin of the San Francisco Chronicle calls it "a potent jazz theater piece." Dr. Judth Schlesinger in All About Jazz calls it "a searing and powerful statement about our shared humanity and the redemptive power of music and love...In a just world this is the stuff that Pulitzers are made of." Alan Young of Lucid Culture says, "...a genuinely heartwarming portrait of joie de vivre triumphing over enormous odds...literally breathtaking...powerful and compelling."

A select member of jazz's piano pantheon, Fred Hersch is a pervasively influential creative force who has shaped the music's course over more than three decades as an improviser, composer, educator, bandleader, collaborator and recording artist. He has been proclaimed "the most arrestingly innovative pianist in jazz over the last decade" by Vanity Fair, "an elegant force of musical invention" by The L.A. Times, and "a living legend" by The New Yorker.

A fifteen-time Grammy nominee, Hersch has regularly garnered jazz's most prestigious awards and has long set the standard for expressive interpretation and inventive creativity, whether through his exquisite solo performances, as the leader of one of jazz's era-defining trios, or in eloquent dialogue with his deeply attuned duo partners. His acclaimed, award-winning 2017 memoir, "Good Things Happen Slowly" (Crown Archetype Books/Random House), compellingly reveals the story of his life in music along with a frank recounting of his struggles and triumphs as the first openly gay, HIV-positive jazz musician.

Herschel Garfein is a Grammy Award-winning writer, composer and stage director. He is the composer and librettist of Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, a new opera based on the play by Tom Stoppard. His song-cycle The Divine Image will soon be released in a premiere recording by mezzo Jennifer Rivera on GPR Records. Garfein was awarded the 2012 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Classical Composition for his "wildly operatic libretto" (BBC Music Magazine) for Robert Aldridge's Elmer Gantry in a performance by Florentine Opera, Milwaukee (NAXOS). Composition credits: Mythologies (Mark Morris), Sueños (Mabou Mines), American Steel (Alabama Symphony), Sir Peter Hall's Troilus and Cressida(incidental music, TFNA). TimeOut NY wrote that: "Garfein has all the makings of a post-millennial Carlisle Floyd.... [His] themes are deeply American and rooted in the social mores of Gens X and Y."


BroadwayWorld Logo Vote Now for the 2022 BroadwayWorld Off-Broadway Awards
Vote Nowvoting ends in



STEALING MONA LISA Comes to Theater For The New City This Month Photo
August 21, 1911, wasn't just another day at the Louvre in Paris. Security guards discovered that the Mona Lisa, at a time when art work was being photographed, was missing. Who took the Mona Lisa? The cry spread across newspapers and nations.

The Sixth Annual Chanukahstravaganza Comes to Littlefield This Month Photo
Lana Schwartz and Ilana Michelle Rubin are two Jewish (you might have guessed), native New Yorkers who always get pretty lonely around the holiday season. For the sixth year in a row, they've invited some of the funniest Jewish comedians in New York City (where else?) to help them celebrate the Miracle of Lights: Chanukah. Hannukah. Hanukah. However you choose to spell it. There will be songs, there will be laughter, there will be surprises, and you know there will be gelt. Lots of gelt. Tons of it.

Einhorn Prize Reading Announced At Triad Theater, December 11 Photo
On Sunday December 11 at 2pm, there will be a presentation of the winners of the first David A. Einhorn Playwriting Prize The event will be held at the Triad Theater, 158 W. 72nd Street. The event will run 90 minutes and include readings of the 1st and 2nd prize winners, some words about David Einhorn, and a talkback on the topics addressed by the plays.

Off-Brand Opera Presents CAROUSEL, December 10 & 11 Photo
Off-Brand Opera returns this fall with a fresh take on Carousel, the beloved Rodgers & Hammerstein classic. Carousel will be presented with a fresh take on the classic work, featuring performers from a variety of artistic backgrounds in restaurant Bella Ciao's intimate basement cabaret space.


More Hot Stories For You


The Sixth Annual Chanukahstravaganza Comes to Littlefield This MonthThe Sixth Annual Chanukahstravaganza Comes to Littlefield This Month
December 8, 2022

Lana Schwartz and Ilana Michelle Rubin are two Jewish (you might have guessed), native New Yorkers who always get pretty lonely around the holiday season. For the sixth year in a row, they've invited some of the funniest Jewish comedians in New York City (where else?) to help them celebrate the Miracle of Lights: Chanukah. Hannukah. Hanukah. However you choose to spell it. There will be songs, there will be laughter, there will be surprises, and you know there will be gelt. Lots of gelt. Tons of it.

Einhorn Prize Reading Announced At Triad Theater, December 11Einhorn Prize Reading Announced At Triad Theater, December 11
December 7, 2022

On Sunday December 11 at 2pm, there will be a presentation of the winners of the first David A. Einhorn Playwriting Prize The event will be held at the Triad Theater, 158 W. 72nd Street. The event will run 90 minutes and include readings of the 1st and 2nd prize winners, some words about David Einhorn, and a talkback on the topics addressed by the plays.

Off-Brand Opera Presents CAROUSEL, December 10 & 11Off-Brand Opera Presents CAROUSEL, December 10 & 11
December 7, 2022

Off-Brand Opera returns this fall with a fresh take on Carousel, the beloved Rodgers & Hammerstein classic. Carousel will be presented with a fresh take on the classic work, featuring performers from a variety of artistic backgrounds in restaurant Bella Ciao's intimate basement cabaret space.

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST JR. to be Presented at AMT Theater in JanuaryBEAUTY AND THE BEAST JR. to be Presented at AMT Theater in January
December 7, 2022

​January 18th through the 22nd is BEAUTY AND THE BEAST at AMT Theater. Wednesday through Saturday at 7pm, Saturday at 2 and Sunday at 3pm.

QUILLÉN A New Musical To Premiere At Winterfest, December 13-17QUILLÉN A New Musical To Premiere At Winterfest, December 13-17
December 6, 2022

Latiné Musical Theatre Lab and Teatro Latea unite to present the new Chilean musical Quillén at New York Theater Festival's Winterfest, December 13-17, 2022.