Fischer, Irwin, American composer, teacher, and conductor; b. Iowa City, July 5, 1903; d. Wilmette, 111., May 7, 1977. He graduated in 1924 from the Univ. of Chicago; studied organ with Middelschulte, piano with Robyn, and composition with Weidig at the American Cons, in Chicago (M.M., 1930). He later studied composition briefly with Boulanger in Paris (1931) and Kodaly in Budapest (1936), and took lessons in conducting with Paumgartner and Malko at the Salzburg Mozarteum (1937). In 1928 he joined the faculty of the American Cons, in Chicago, becoming its dean in 1974; he also conducted several community orchs. As a composer, Fischer held fast to tonal techniques. In the 1930s he developed a polytonal technique, which he described as biplanal, and from 1960 he utilized serialism.
ORCH Rhapsody of French Folk Tunes (1933); Piano Concerto (1935; Chicago, Feb. 23, 1936); Marco Polo, fantasy overture (1937); Hungarian Set (1938); Lament for Cello and Orch. (1938); Chorale Fantasy for Organ and Orch. (1940); Sym. No. 1 (1943); Variations on an Original Theme (1950); Legend (1956); Poem for Violin and Orch. (1959); Passacaglia and Fugue (1961); Overture on an Exuberant Tone Row (1964–65); Short Symphony (1970–71; Hinsdale, April 16, 1972; orchestration of Piano Sonata); Concerto giocoso for Clarinet and Orch. (1971; Hinsdale, Jan. 21, 1973). CHAMBER: Divertimento for Flute, Clarinet, Bassoon, Horn, Trumpet, Violin, Cello, and Double Bass (1963); Fanfare for Brass and Percussion (1976). KEYBOARD: Piano : Introduction and Triple Fugue (1929); Rhapsody (1940); Sonata (1960). VOCAL: 5 Symphonic Psalms for Soprano, Chorus, and Orch. (1967); Orchestral Adventures of a Little Tune for Narrator and Orch. (1974; Chicago, Nov. 16, 1974); Statement 1976 for Soprano, Chorus, Brass, Strings, and Percussion (New Haven, April 25, 1976); choruses; songs.
E. Borroff, Three American Composers (1986).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire