Bio for composer, saxophonist, jazz educator Rick Hirsch. From Newark, DE. Graduated from UMass-Amherst (University of Massachusetts) and Northern Illinois University. Lived in Madison, WI. Living in State College, PA since 1999.
MEET Rick Hirsch
As a composer and arranger Rick Hirsch has established himself nationally and internationally with his inventive, evocative works for jazz and saxophone ensembles. He began as an apprentice for master jazz composers Toshiko Akiyoshi and Bob Mintzer, serving each as personal music copyist. Rick has been awarded multiple fellowships and grants for jazz composition from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. He has been commissioned to write music for many top musicians and ensembles, including Eddie Henderson, Yusef Lateef, Chris Vadala, Jackie Allen, and the Capitol Quartet.
Hirsch's music is published by Alfred Music, UNC Jazz Press, BRS Music, and his own HirschMusic Publications. His jazz ensemble arrangements have received Editor's Choice designations several years in a row from J.W. Pepper.
As a saxophonist, Hirsch has performed with dozens of legendary jazz musicians, including Max Roach, Clark Terry, Tito Puente, Louie Bellson, and Phil Woods. He has also backed up the Four Tops and the Temptations, and has performed on NPR's Whaddya Know. He continues to perform regularly with several local and regional bands and musicians.
Hirsch is a sought-after jazz educator, known for his inspiring, creative, and easy-going teaching style with aspiring musicians. He has taught music at Penn State University, Northern Illinois University, Madison West HS and State College Area HS, and has appeared as a guest artist/clinician at schools, universities, and festivals around the country. He is a contributing author to Musicianship: Composing in Band and Orchestra (GIA 2013).
Rick attended the University of Massachusetts, studying saxophone and graduating summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a Bachelors of Arts in 1992. At UMass Hirsch's principal teachers were Lynn Klock, Yusef Lateef, and Jeff Holmes. He earned a Masters of Music in jazz composition and arranging in 1995 from Northern Illinois University. At NIU he studied with Ron Modell, Ron Carter, Glenn Kostur, and Steve Duke. He has also studied improvisation with the late Boysie Lowery, David Liebman, and Bill Byerly, the teacher who started him on this journey at age 14 or so.
Rick lives with his wife (children's science writer Rebecca Hirsch) and their daughters in State College, Pennsylvania. He enjoys following the Pittsburgh Pirates, reading, attempting to complete the daily crossword (in pencil), and getting as much fresh air as possible.
Brief timeline & stats
. born 1970 in Newark, Delaware (US)
. graduated Newark High School (1988), University of Massachusetts-Amherst (B.A. 1992), Northern Illinois University (M.M. 1995)
. lived in Madison, WI from 1992-1993 & 1995-1999
. living in State College, PA from 1999-present
HirschMusic Publications Highlights
. HirschMusic Publications officially launched in 2010. (works were previously published by Walrus 1995-2010, and UNC Jazz Press 2008-2010).
. Since then, sales have doubled every year.
. Works performed by a couple dozen All-State Jazz Bands.
. Works performed at Midwest Band & Orchestra Clinic, JEN, NAfME All-Eastern, NASA, US Navy Band International Saxophone Symposium.
. Works performed by hundreds of High School, Collegiate, Middle School, Professional and Community-based ensembles (and, thus, thousands of musicians) around the world!
. Nationwide print distribution through JW Pepper, Marina Music, eJazzlines, Music & Arts, Stanton’s Music, Pender’s Music, Quinlan & Fabish. Fulfilled special orders through dozens of Mom-and-Pop music stores nationwide.
Composer Commission Highlights
Capitol Quartet, Osland Saxophone Quartet, Continental Trombone Quartet, University of Northern Iowa Jazz Band I, Bucknell University Jazz Band, University of Maryland Jazz Ensemble, Line Mountain HS Concert Band, Nittany Valley Youth Flute Choir, Phoenix Horns, PA Council on the Arts, University of Illinois Jazz 'Bones, Sax Pistols, Mt. Nittany MS Jazz Band, Park Forest MS Jazz Band, State College Area HS Jazz Band, Hollidaysburg Area HS Jazz Band, Bald Eagle Area HS Jazz Band, Wallenpaupack Area HS Jazz Band... published by Alfred Music, HirschMusic, UNC Jazz Press, Fana, BRS Music, and Walrus Music (1995-2010).
Arranger Commission Highlights
Eddie Henderson, Yusef Lateef, Jackie Allen, Penn State Blue Band, Chris Vadala, University of Kentucky Wind Symphony, Swing Nouveau, JT & the Denicats, the Saxations, Northern Illinois University Jazz Ensemble, Rob Parton Big Band, the Saxations, Occasional Brass & Strings, Autumn Blaze, Bill O'Connell's Chicago Skyliners Big Band, Bald Eagle HS Jazz Band, Holicong MS Jazz Band, Pleasant Hill Academy Saxophone Ensemble, Christiana HS Marching Band, Glasgow HS Marching Band, North East HS Marching Band, Boyscouts of America, Gallup.
GUEST TEACHING ARTIST: Bucknell University, Penn State University, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Ithaca College, Lock Haven University, University of Kentucky, Garden City Community College, Susquehanna University, Hollidaysburg HS, Altoona HS, Line Mountain HS, Richland HS, State College HS, Bellefonte HS, Bald Eagle HS, Wallenpaupack Area HS, Neshaminy HS, Holicong MS, Mt. Nittany MS, Park Forest MS, Bald Eagle HS, Newark HS, Christiana HS, Glasgow HS, Northeast HS, UW-Madison Summer Music Clinic, Penn State Summer Music Camp.
GUEST CONDUCTOR: Iowa All-State Jazz Band, Delaware All-State Jazz Band, PMEA District Jazz Bands (districts 5, 6, 7, 8, 9).
INVITED PRESENTER: Midwest Band & Orchestra Clinic, PMEA All-State Conference, Iowa Bandmasters All-State Conference, multiple Penn State University Music Education classes.
CONTRIBUTING AUTHOR: Musicianship: Composing in Band and Orchestra (GIA, 2014)
FORMER ADJUNCT FACULTY: Penn State University, Northern Illinois University, Edgewood College, State College HS, Madison West HS.
Phil Woods, Tito Puente, Max Roach, the Four Tops, the Temptations, NPR's Whaddya Know?, QVC Home Shopping Network (!!), Sandy Duncan, Marvin Hamlisch, Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, Hal Crook, Claudio Roditi, Paquito d'Rivera, Bob Mintzer, Pete Christlieb, John Riley, Rob McConnell, Marvin Stamm, Dennis Mackrel, Jay Anderson, Rich Matteson, Jon Faddis, Tim Hagans, Rufus Reid, Conrad Herwig, Richie Cole, Steve Rudolph, Randy Brecker, Jim McFalls, Tim Leahy, Joe Segal's Jazz Showcase, The Rex, Chicago Navy Pier.