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Stewart "Dirk" Fischer

The College of the Canyons music department will present a celebration of legendary COC music professor Dirk Fischer’s illustrious musical career, during the department’s annual fall concert, Friday, Nov. 4.

Primarily celebrating the various musical arrangements, songs and projects that Fischer has produced or contributed to since his retirement in 2005, the concert will feature performances by the two COC Jazz Combo bands, as well as the COC Studio Jazz Ensemble, which will perform under the direction of COC music director KC Manji.

“Even since his retirement Dirk has continued arranging music for the college’s music department and other local jazz bands,” said Manji, who succeeded Fischer as the college’s musical director. “He possesses a wealth of jazz history and knowledge from his many years having not just studied this musical form, but from having lived it.”

Fischer — who began his teaching career at COC in 1977 as the college’s first instructor of jazz studies and director of the college’s jazz band — arrived at the college during a time when most academic institutions had yet to fully incorporate jazz studies programs into their curriculum.

During his 28 years at COC Fischer helped build the college’s music department, and worked to establish several of the college’s most endeared and longstanding musical traditions, including the annual RK Downs Jazz Festival held each spring in honor of former COC music instructor RK Downs.

Last spring, Fischer debuted his arrangement of the operetta “The Three Piggy Opera,” which was staged at COC and included a mixture of children, student and professional musicians performing a selection of classical music themes arranged in non-traditional jazz styles.

Throughout his career Fischer has also worked extensively with other professional orchestras and student musical groups, eventually seeing his compositions and arrangements performed by jazz ensembles in high schools, colleges and professional bands and orchestras throughout the United States, the Netherlands, Nova Scotia and Japan.

“His work supplying music for various high school, college and professional jazz bands and ensembles, publishing new jazz tunes and donating many of his pieces to the COC jazz library continues to this day,” Manji said.

The concert event “The Music of Dirk Fischer” will take place at 7:30 p.m. Friday. Nov. 4, on the main stage of the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center (PAC) at College of the Canyons.

General admission tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for COC students and senior citizens.

For more information about the “The Music of Dirk Fischer” or to purchase tickets contact the PAC Box Office at 661-362-5304 or visit www.CanyonsPAC.com.

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