Email Rick via this form.

Phone him at (814) 867-9935.


Please inquire about:

  • School visits & workshops

  • Booking a live jazz group for your event

  • Commissioning custom music

  • Anything else on your mind

Name *

State College, PA

(814) 867-9935

Rick Hirsch is a nationally-known composer, arranger and jazz educator living in State College, PA. Check out his music, book a live jazz band in Central Pennsylvania.

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Commission / Residency

A commission-residency with Rick Hirsch is like no other experience you can provide your students.


Here is one of the richest—and surprisingly uncommon—educational experiences band kids can have in three easy steps:

  1. Commission a composer to write a brand-new piece of music specifically for your band.

  2. Have the composer—who also happens to be very good with young musicians!—spend a day or two rehearsing the band and hanging out.

  3. Cap it all off with a concert together for friends, family, and the local community.

Rick has done variations on this theme numerous times with several high school and middle school jazz bands and concert bands throughout Pennsylvania, including State College Area HS, Wallenpaupack Area HS, Hollidaysburg Area HS, Line Mountain Jr/Sr HS, Park Forest MS, Holicong MS, Mount Nittany Middle School, Bellefonte HS, and Bald Eagle Area HS.

Wallenpaupack Area HS band director Eric Warner told Rick "I enjoy the sense of joy and humor you bring to the music. It's infectious." And Sayre HS band director Amy Johnston told him: "Thanks again to you for inspiring our kids...It was amazing watching my trombone player grow as a player and get excited about jazz."

Check out these videos from Rick's 2015 residency at Wallenpaupack.

In this first video he conducts the WAHS jazz band in A Little Pocono Git-Down, a piece he wrote expressly for them.


Here's the background on the second video:  Rick used some of their residency time earlier this day to teach the band a new tune by ear. (Notice that all music stands are turned around backwards). And after about 1.5 hours of rehearsal, the band voted to perform this tune in their evening concert. Whoa! (The band even brainstormed a title for the tune, which refers to the time of the first late-bell of the day, calling it The 8:09 Blues).

You'll notice that everyone knows what to do—even if they don't know just when they're going to do it. That's because the entire performance is improvised, with Rick directing traffic with a set of hand signals and gestures. The video begins with Rick improvising on the tenor saxophone before he brings in the whole band and many spirited improvising soloists.

ARE YOU interested in doing something like this, but CONCERNED ABOUT how you'd fund it?

There's (almost) always a way to find the means to make this happen. Just look at the list of schools Rick has worked with to see the broad socio-economic range represented there: suburban Philly schools to college-town schools to small schools in rural Pennsylvania.


2018-19 projects

U of Kentucky Jazz Ensemble
. compose Miles’ Big Band Dojo to celebrate Miles Olsand’s 30th year teaching at UK.
. piece to feature Miles (sax/flute) and Vince DiMartino (tpt/flugel).
. to be premiered in Chicago at the Midwest Band & Orchestra Clinic.

Penn State Blue Band
. arrange music for three full halftime shows (nine charts in sum).

Iowa Hawkeye Marching Band
. arrange Maroon 5’s Girls Like You for 9/1 halftime show.

Kentucky Wildcat Marching Band
. arrange Malaguena for 9/29 halftime show.



Hollidaysburg Area HS

. Compose remaining works for 7-movement suite: Flying (from the Land of Bondage) for SATB choir, Industry in Motion for chamber strings, Paranormal Paso Doble for flute + rhythm section.

. Several school visits for rehearsals and workshops.


Steve Wilson @ UTEP
. compose piece (Strut) to feature bass trombonist with jazz ensemble


. Compose an original work (Bembé, Omaha Style) for Omaha's all-star HS big band, the Metropolitan Area Youth Jazz Orchestra. I will conduct them when they perform the new work at 2018 JEN conference in Dallas.


Bucknell Univ Jazz Band
. Arrange Me & Mrs. Jones for outstanding student vocalist and the jazz band


Penn State Blue Band
. arrange 7 charts, and counting...



Oley Valley HS Jazz Band
. to compose original jazz ensemble piece:  County Fair

Hollidaysburg Area HS Jazz Band
. continue the 3-year commission project by composing three new jazz ensemble pieces:  The Water Road, New Dog in Town, Dream Big.
. will complement last year's Old Chief's Lookout in building a suite of music portraying Blair County, PA landmarks.

Hamburg Area HS Band
. to compose original concert band piece: Shakespeare is hip to the Faire

Medfield, MA combined concert bands (grades 4-12!)
. to compose original concert band piece for their annual Band-o-rama concert. Cool!  Band-o-rama Blues.



Kiski Area Upper Elementary 6th Grade Band
. composed grade 1 concert band piece Tin Man does the Iron City.
. premier at 2016 PMEA in Hershey
. rehearsal visit in March

Huntingdon Area HS Jazz Band
. composed grade 3 jazz ensemble piece Mambo Over the Mountain
rehearsal visit in April

Mount Nittany MS & Park Forest MS combined 7th-8th grade orchestras
. composed grade 2 string orchestra piece yet to be titled!
. rehearsal visits in April & May

Hollidaysburg Area HS Jazz Band
. composed grade 3 jazz ensemble piece The Old Chief's Lookout
rehearsal visit(s) in April / May
. this the first of a 4- or 5-movement suite to be composed through 2017



State College Area HS Jazz Band One
. composed two original pieces, Giddyup! and Mishchief Night for their European tour in summer 2015
. multiple rehearsal visits

Park Forest Middle School Jazz Band
. composed grade 2 jazz ensemble piece Downtown Tango
. multiple rehearsal visits
. to be published by Alfred Music in 2016-2017 catalog!

University of Maryland Jazz Band One
. composed advanced jazz ensemble piece Metroliner.
. Metroliner received honorable mention in the 2016 Ithaca College Jazz Ensemble Composition Contest

Wallenpaupack Area HS Jazz Band
. composed grade 3 jazz ensemble piece Pocono Git-Down.
. had 1.5-day residency with rehearsals, clinics, and concert