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Rick Hirsch

Rick Hirsch is an award-winning composer and arranger who began his career as a personal music copyist for Bob Mintzer and Toshiko Akiyoshi. He has written music for jazz icons Yusef Lateef and Eddie Henderson, the Capitol Quartet, and the storied Penn State Blue Band, to name but a few.

He is in-demand as a guest conductor and formerly served on the music faculty of Penn State University.

In 2017 Rick Hirsch’s BIG OL’ BAND released their debut album, Pocono Git-Down, celebrating the vibrant under-the-radar jazz scenes beyond the big cities.

Hirsch studied improvisation with Yusef Lateef, Boysie Lowery, and Dave Liebman, and saxophone with Lynn Klock and Steve Duke. He has a BA Summa Cum Claude UMass-Amherst and an MM from Northern Illinois University.


• Grand Prize (Pennsylvania Jazz Collective Composition Contest, 2016 for The Old Chief's Lookout)
• Honorable Mention (Ithaca College Jazz Ensemble Composition Contest, 2016 for Metroliner
• Grand Prize (Ithaca College Jazz Ensemble Composition Contest, 2015 for Mirage
• Fellowships in Jazz Composition (Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, 2003 & 2005)


Manuscript paper, pencils, many erasers. Finale for Mac.


Album Review
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"Great writing and blazing alto playing." "Bob Mintzer

"The language is rich and daring, and sometimes quite abrasive to my ears...but it’s entirely stimulating!" "(Queen guitarist) Brian May
Primary Instrument




Willing to teach

Beginner to advanced


• Presented over 150 workshops to middle school, high school, and collegiate musicians throughout the country.
• Featured clinician at JEN Conference, Midwest Band & Orchestra Clinic, PMEA, Iowa Bandmasters
• Specialist on creative improvisation pedagogy
• MM from Northern Illinois University
• Guest conductor at University and All-State levels nationwide
• BA Summa Cum Laude from University of Massachusetts—Amherst
• Studies with Yusef Lateef, Boysie Lowery, David Liebman, Ron Carter, Jeff Holmes, Lynn Klock

Clinic/Workshop Information

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Album Discography

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Pocono Git-Down

Big Ol' Records


Found 'Em

Big Ol' Records


Free Food?

Unknown label




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