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Musician Turned Writer

Author, jazz pianist Herzig
to sign book, perform in Madison

She started her career
while a student in Germany

By Nichole R. Osinski
Contributing Writer

(November 2011) – Musician, teacher and now author. Monika Herzig has won “Best Original Composition,” has her own CD and has a booked performance schedule.
So what’s next on her to do list? Start signing her upcoming book, “David Baker: A Legacy in Music.”
The book profiles the musician, composer and educator from his days as a trombone player to his position at the Jazz Studies department at Indiana University.
Herzig will be signing her book as well as performing at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19, at Village Lights Bookstore, 110 E. Main St. in Madison, Ind.
Montoya, who co-owns the store with his wife, Anne Vesputo, has featured Herzig before and considers her a “terrific jazz pianist.”

Monika Herzig and David Baker

Photo providfed

Author, performer Monika Herzig
will sign her book about musician,
composer and educator David Baker,
who is shown in this photo with her.

Herzig started her career has a jazz pianist while still a student in Germany and after an exchange program at the University of Alabama decided to remain in the United States.
Herzig explained that from the beginning she was attracted to the art of jazz, especially the piano. “The piano is the queen of all instruments,” she said. “You can do it all.”
After receiving her master’s degree, she then went on to complete her doctorate at Indiana University, where she is now a faculty member. Herzig has built up a commendable repertoire in the jazz industry.
Her project, “The Jazz Legacy of Indiana,” won the Anya Peterson-Royce Showcase Award, and she was signed to the Owl Studios label.
Though she had been composing a lot of original music right from the beginning, she had not yet written a book. When she found out no one had been recording Baker’s stories, she decided it was time to start writing.
“David Baker is one of the icons of jazz and jazz education,” she said. “I went to school here (at IU) and owe him a lot.”
Herzig said she wanted to make the book more than a biography but rather a contribution by those who have known Baker. She had various people write about his expertise, contributions and influence in the world of jazz. Herzig hopes readers will understand how hard Baker worked in his career and the obstacles he had to overcome. From experiencing the Civil Rights movement to relearning to play the trombone after an accident, Baker’s story is truly inspirational.
Herzig explains that being a musician is having a vision and going for it. She relates this to jazz in itself as being a fundamental expression for people whether in its early form in New Orleans or a way for people to fuse ideas together. Herzig sees jazz as an art form that can reflect what is going on in our society and culture. For her own compositions she uses inspiration from her travels, such as driving around in Italy or getting lost in the woods. Sometimes the melodies seem to come from out of the blue or from listening to other musicians. However, she points out that having a career as a jazz pianist is not an easy one. “Its a dedication,” she she said. “That’s what you’re supposed to do and want to do.”
Her dedication had led her all across the United States, playing with other musicians as well as doing solos. When she comes to Village Lights Bookstore she will be playing a combination of popular songs and her original work. She said she is looking forward to meeting her readers just as much as playing. “Something that you always want to accomplish with your music is to touch people in some way,” she said. “Jazz is one of the treasures that evolved out of this country and I hope everybody would be proud of it and it would continue to grow.

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