Dr. C.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 is a member of the Kocher Duo with his wife Stephanie, which specializes in literature for flute and saxophone. He also performs with the Sempre Saxophone Quartet, which recently released a CD on Centaur Records. 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 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. C.J. performed at the 2012 World Saxophone Congress with Roger Neumann, where they premiered Roger’s new work Monktasia for flute, alto sax, tenor sax, and piano.