NEC Musicians Take to the Digital Stage

NEC alumni and students have leapt forward to create and perform in digital concert experiences. Here, we highlight just a few of the new online series created by our community.

Fred Hersch sits at his piano at home

Jazz alum and former faculty member Fred Hersch has been offering daily performances via Facebook Live.

In the first of these sessions, he shows items from his household—“This is the lion that keeps me fearless. And this is the kitchen timer that keeps me at the piano.”—before dedicating performances to a recently deceased friend, and to frontline medical workers. “We all need resilience and resourcefulness going forward,” says Fred.

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10 artists smile at the camera on a Zoom call

Contemporary Improvisation student Isabel Crespo Pardo has launched Streamfest, a series of digital concerts through which she has presented 27 artists over the first three sessions. The weekly series continues with Streamfest Vol. IV on Friday, April 10.

“My goal with Streamfest, during this period of isolation, is to foster community between musicians and between musicians and the public by curating performances that include artists from around the world,” says Isabel.

“Additionally, I want to create an opportunity for viewers to pay musicians for their work, especially given the fact that most of us have lost most if not all work due to the current situation.”

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Julian Loida plays the vibraphone

Percussionist and NEC alum Julian Loida is part of the team that launched the Keep Your Distance Fest, which raises funds for The Passim Emergency Artist Relief Fund. The festival, which takes the form of a video playlist, features many NEC alumni and faculty, including Vilray, Aoife O'Donovan, and Mike Block.

“It's been overwhelming to see the Passim and music community give back to artists so generously and quickly as we have raised over $90,000 and growing,” says Julian, who works as Outreach Coordinator at Passim. “We have been able to support well over 120 artists, and we want to support artists in this difficult and uncertain time.”

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Anthony R. Green and Ashleigh Gordon smile from the stage after a performance.

Castle of our Skins presents online concerts by co-founders and fellow NEC alumni Ashleigh Gordon and Anthony R. Green.

The upcoming concerts, on Sunday, April 12 and Friday, April 24, feature works by composers from the African diaspora, and will be conversational, educational, and musical, continuing CooS's mission to foster cultural curiosity and celebrate Black artistry through music.

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More digital concerts from our community: