The music department will pay tribute to the life and work of longtime COC jazz professor Dirk Fischer with the concert event “Arranged by Dirk: A Night of Memories” being held Friday, May 3, in the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center (PAC).
The event will include selections of music composed or arranged by Fischer, and performed by the award-winning College of the Canyons Studio Jazz Ensemble, under the direction of COC music director KC Manji.
In addition, several of Fischer’s most prized recordings will also be included, along with a slide-show presentation of the longtime composer’s life and musical career.
“Although he loved all music, the pieces being performed will be representative of what the members of the Jazz Ensemble feel best exhibits Dirk’s personal style and life-long musical interests,” said Manji. “His work creating and publishing new jazz music continued right up until he died, so it’s only fitting that we honor and remember him in this way.”
Following the event, the COC music department will host a post-concert reception in the PAC lobby, providing the college’s faculty, staff, students and community members an opportunity to meet with the Jazz Ensemble and share their memories of Fischer.
The Dirk Fischer tribute concert “Arranged by Dirk: A Night of Memories” will take place at 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 3, on the PAC main stage.
General admission tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for COC students and senior citizens.
More about the life of Dirk Fischer
Renowned musician, composer and longtime College of the Canyons jazz professor Stewart Roussin Fischer — affectionately known to family, friends, colleagues and students as “Dirk” — began his teaching career at COC in 1977 at a time when most academic institutions had yet to fully incorporate jazz studies programs into their curriculum.
Before retiring in 2005, Fischer dedicated his 28 years at the college to building COC’s music department, while working to establish several of the college’s most endeared and longstanding musical traditions.
Aside from his time spent mentoring the award-winning COC Jazz Ensemble and lab jazz combo bands, Fischer also worked extensively with other professional orchestras and student musical groups. During his illustrious career Fischer’s compositions and arrangements were performed by jazz ensembles in high schools, colleges and professional bands and orchestras throughout the United States, Netherlands, Nova Scotia and Japan.
Even after his retirement in 2005, Fischer’s work with the COC music department and its students never slowed, with his compositions and original arrangements featured at nearly all of the college’s annual holiday, spring and pops jazz concerts, as well as the campus’ RK Downs Jazz Festival.
Fischer also maintained a presence in the classroom, making guest appearances at classes, practice sessions and performances every semester until his death in February 2013.