Email Rick via this form.

Phone him at (814) 867-9935.


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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.



Hirsch down under

Rick Hirsch

I just received these videos from the fantastic Sydney Jazz Orchestra (Australia). The SJO is fronted by the wonderful saxophonist Tim Oram, who is also an exceptional writer in his own right.

Here are their recent performances of my arrangements of Silent Night and Christmas Time is Here.

By the way, I get a kick out of seeing band members playing a Christmastime gig in short sleeve shirts. ;-)

Silent Night

Christmas Time is Here


And while we're at it, here's a performance of Catch Me if You Can! from a few months ago. How about that for sight-reading? Great band.

Catch Me if You Can!

Half-off-Hanukkah sale

Rick Hirsch

2017 has been a challenging year for my family, but there were many bright spots as well, not the least of which was our youngest daughter's bat mitzvah. (Another bright spot is that this year is almost over!)

I am writing this post to thank you for your continued support and interest in the music I write. It really means a lot to me when I find other musicians getting a kick out of performing this music. And the significant growth I have seen in sales from my sheet music catalog (HirschMusic Publications) has also been comforting in a more tangible sense.

So, to mark the end of 2017 and offer a gesture of thanks, I am holding a Half-Off-Hanukkah (or, Chalf-off-Chanukkahsale. (info here)

For each of the next 8 days I will offer something different from my catalog for 1/2 price. It could be a single chart one day, perhaps an entire category of music the next. Basically, 8 consecutive 1-day sales.

Check out the sale(s) here

I wish you good health, peace, and prosperity.

Honorable Mention: "Long Haul"

Rick Hirsch

This is cool: my two-part jazz ensemble composition "The Long Haul" received Honorable Mention in the 2017 Ithaca College Jazz Ensemble Composition Contest.

The excellent Ithaca College Jazz Ensemble will performed it on December 8, 2017, featuring guest drummer Matt Wilson. The concert will be live-streamed, then archived here: http://www.ithaca.edu/music/live/#.WfNTBYZryV4.  Full results of the contest are here.

In 2015 my composition Mirage was the winning entry. In 2016 Metroliner received honorable mention.


"The Long Haul" is actually the middle half of a four-movement suite in progress, to be premiered in March by the Hollidaysburg HS music department. The two movements of "The Long Haul" are "The Water Road" and "New Dog in Town." (New Dog is discussed in this article).

PSU Halftime 9-2-17

Rick Hirsch

The Penn State Blue Band's first halftime show of the year had a dance theme. Opened with Whitney Houston's I Wanna Dance With Somebody, followed by Kenny Loggin's Footloose, closed with Walk the Moon's Shut Up and Dance.

I wrote the arrangements for Footloose and Shut Up. Both were fun tunes to arrange!

Dig it:

Glenn Miller opening

Rick Hirsch

This blog post serves to announce openings in the Glenn Miller Orchestra as they arise.

APRIL 30, 2017

  • Vacancy: Baritone Saxophone (with doubles)
  • application deadline: May 7, 2018
  • gig begins June 3, 2018
  • All applicants must be a US citizen with a current/ valid passport.
  • Prepare required excerpts (download here)
  • Also include several solo improvisations in variety of styles.
    • chosen at discretion of candidate
    • each solo (excerpt) should be less than 1 minute
    • submit each solo as an individual mp3 file
    • *concise YouTube clips are recommended (but not required)
  • Include phone # with your application
  • Submit application to Mr. Ashley Hall, road manager



AUG 18, 2017

The Glenn Miller Orchestra is hiring a bassist.

  • hiring date of Thursday September 28th 2017.
  • All applicants must be a US citizen with a current/ valid passport.
  • Applicants should include several excerpts in various styles (swing, ballad, etc), a few solos, and use of the bow.
  • These excerpts are at the discretion of the candidate, should each be no more than a minute in length, and must be submitted in (individual) MP3 format.
  • Concise YouTube clips are encouraged but not required.
  • The firm deadline for audition submissions is Thursday August 24th 2017.

All auditions and inquiries should be submitted to:

Mr. Ashley Hall / road manager



Big Ol' concert report

Rick Hirsch

Last month Rick Hirsch's Big Ol' Band had its CD release concert. It was held at the wonderful State Theatre in downtown State College on June 16. There was a wonderful audience that included guests from elementary school to retirement age.

All but 5 of the original band members were able to make the concert, with equally amazing musicians covering those vacancies. And we had the special treat of presenting guest vocalist Eric Ian Farmer who, as usual, brought the house down.

Here is a pair of bootleg concert vids:

Blue Band time

Rick Hirsch

I'm now in my 16th season as a staff arranger for the Penn State Blue Band (marching band). This is one of my favorite writing gigs, especially when I drop by their rehearsal before game day and get to hear my chart(s) played by 300 strong musicians!

I've already begun writing for this season, but the assignment—as always—is top secret!

Here's the arrangement I did last season (fall, 2016) of Journey's Open Arms.


Road-testing new tunes

Rick Hirsch

I finished two new original jazz ensemble pieces in the past month or so. Here are the videos of the first time they were read by humans.

This is always an important part of the writing process for me, as it reveals instantly what works and what doesn't. In the case of the first tune ("New Dog..."), I think it was just how I wanted it. The second tune, though, revealed that there were a few voicings I wanted to tweak (to achieve a different intensity) and that I needed to clarify an instruction in a trumpet part. Nothing major, but good to know about before sending off to the client who commissioned these.

There's a New Dog in Town
(sightread by the Zeropoint Big Band in State College, PA)

p.s. You may enjoy this other blog post in which I show the evolution of "New Dog" from blank paper to finished chart.



Dream Big 
(sightread by the River City Big Band in Harrisburg, PA)

More CD reviews

Rick Hirsch

Here are three more CD reviews of Pocono Git-Down.
Click links for full review text.


"A modern sounding big band that packs a wallop...a chart lover's delight."

JazzWeekly (George Harris)



LA Jazz Scene (Scott Yanow)


"Rick Hirsch and his Big Ol’ Band...make the sound of a big band cool and hipster"

Music Republic Magazine (Simon Redley / UK)