College of Fine Arts Music

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Christopher Kocher

Christopher Kocher
Associate Professor
Music, College of Fine Arts
UFA Warren M. Lee Center for the Fine Arts 149
Phone: 605-677-5728
Dr. Christopher J. Kocher is associate professor of saxophone and jazz studies at the University of South Dakota, where he has taught since 1999. Kocher, who is active as both a performer and educator, has an extensive background in both classical and jazz saxophone. As a classical saxophonist, he has performed with the South Dakota Symphony, Sioux City Symphony, Colorado Music Festival Orchestra, and others. He also performs with the Sempre Saxophone Quartet, which recently recorded a CD released on Centaur Records. He is a member of the Kocher Duo with his wife Stephanie, which specializes in literature for flute and saxophone. Kocher has premiered new works at the World Saxophone Congress and other North American Saxophone Alliance events. As a jazz performer, he regularly plays with his own quartet, the South Dakota Jazz Orchestra, the USD Faculty Jazz Quintet, and others. He toured Japan two times, in 2013 an 2014, playing lead alto with the Billy Vaughn Orchestra. He has also played with Frank Mantooth, Steve Wiest, Denis DiBlasio, Al Jarreau, Mercedes Ellington, the Temptations, Wayne Newton, the Les Brown Orchestra, and the Jimmy Dorsey Big Band. Kocher completed the Doctor of Arts degree in Saxophone Performance and Pedagogy at the University of Northern Colorado and also holds degrees from Wichita State University (M.M., Saxophone Performance) and Washburn University (B.M., Music Education & Saxophone Performance). He has studied the saxophone and jazz with top performers and educators such as Roger Greenberg, Eugene Rousseau, Jean Lansing, Ken Ticknor, Gene Aitken, Chuck Tumlinson, Tom Fowler, and Dan Haerle.
Teaching Interests:
Music, saxophone, jazz
Research Interests:
Music, saxophone, jazz
  • Doctor of Arts, Saxophone Performance, University of Northern Colorado, 2004
  • MM, Music Performance, Wichita State University, 1997
  • Bachelor of Music, Music Education & Music Performance, Washburn University, 1995
  • Artist Project Grant, SDAC, (2011 - 2012)
  • CTL Teaching Improvement Grant, CTL, (2010 - 2010)
  • CTL Teaching Improvement Grant, CTL, (2011 - 2011)
  • Touring Artists Grant, SDAC, (2009 - 2010)
  • Touring Artists Grant, SDAC, (2010 - 2011)
  • Touring Artists Grant, SDAC, (2011 - 2012)
  • Touring Artists Grant, SDAC, (2012 - 2013)
  • Touring Artists Grant, SDAC, (2013 - 2014)
  • Kocher, C., (2012), Sempre Saxophone Quartet: Music of William Schmidt, Centaur Records.
  • Kocher, C., (2011), William Schmidt and the Saxophone, The Saxophone Symposium: Journal of the North American Saxophone Alliance, vol. 34, iss. 2010/2011, p. 22.
Awards and Honors:
  • Belbas-Larson Teaching Award Nominee