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Swischer, Frederick "Fritz" (1942-November 25, 2013)



  • Existence: 1942 - November 25, 2013


Born in 1942 in Wichita, Kansas, musician and artist Frederick “Fritz” Swischer hailed from a musical family. His mother Doris was a pianist; his father Harold, a violinist and educator, was the first person to graduate from Park College (now Park University) with a music degree. Swischer’s maternal grandfather, Claude Rader, was a student of Belgian violinist and composer Cesar Thomson and served as the first music director at Park College. Swischer’s brother, Tony, was a student of trumpeter Bill Trumbauer and has played and toured with R&B/soul/funk outfit Bloodstone, among others. Swischer himself studied violin with his father and grandfather from age 4 to 14, as well as piano with his mother. In 1954, he began teaching himself clarinet, and in 1963 played in the clarinet section of the Kansas City Philharmonic.

Swischer attended the University of Missouri-Kansas City, graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in clarinet (1964) and a Master’s in music theory (1966, thesis: The Consecutive Fifth in the Writings and Music of Selected Theorists and Composers); followed by three years of study toward a DMA in music history. Originating as work on a doctoral thesis, Swischer worked up and completed an unpublished monograph, Kansas City Jazz, 1923-1937: The Music, in New York City during the period 1971-1973. In the early 2000s, he shared this manuscript with Chuck Haddix, UMKC Marr Sound Archives, who at the time was researching and writing Kansas City Jazz: from Ragtime to Bebop – a History (co-authored with Frank Driggs; Oxford University Press, 2005). Swischer’s work was cited throughout the book, with Haddix formally acknowledging Swischer “for sharing his unpublished dissertation, a pioneering musical analysis of Kansas City Jazz and major contribution to the musical analyses in this history.”

Swischer played jazz clarinet in Wichita with David Gale, Jerry Hahn and Dave Brubeck; later in Kansas City with George Salisbury, Rod Fleeman, Dick Blessing, Steve Cardenas, Bill Perkins, Brad Cox, Cheng Gang Yang, and Jake Blanton, among others. During his time in New York and the northeast in the early 1970s, he concertized with his avant-garde jazz trio and quartet at Carnegie Recital Hall and several universities. As a composer, he has chamber music works and several symphonies in full score for orchestra to his credit. He also has privately taught clarinet, sax, piano, art, and English as a Second Language.

Languages Used

  • Language: English. Script: Latin

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Frederick "Fritz" Swischer Collection

Identifier: MS-0156
Scope and Contents The Frederick “Fritz” R. Swischer Collection was donated to the UMKC Libraries in 2001. The materials had been acquired from Swischer by Chuck Haddix, Kansas City jazz exponent, radio host, and Curator of the Marr Sound Archives at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, for use as research material in writing Haddix’s book Kansas City Jazz: From Ragtime to Bebop – A History, co-authored with Frank Driggs (Oxford University Press, 2005).Swischer’s research, culminating in the...
Dates: 1934 - 2004