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McNally Smith College of Music Names Andre Fischer its New Dean

Grammy award–winning producer and Minneapolis native Andre Fischer recently left his position as an instructor at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music to assume his new position as Dean of McNally Smith College of Music in St. Paul, Minn. Fischer will develop the curriculum for the school’s Recording Technology and Music Business programs. He will also teach courses in music industry careers, production and record companies.

“I have one purpose here: to expand on what I was doing at USC and beyond,” Fischer says. “Most of the information that I haven’t received from direct experience was freely given to me by my elders and surrogate fathers of a sort—my father, Stewart Fischer, Professor Richard Evans, Jerry Butler, Curtis Mayfield, Al Schmitt, Jay Lasker, Lee Young Sr. and Neil Portnow, current president of the Grammy [organization], have been essential in forming the person I am today, and any of the information they imparted to me was for sharing.”

Fischer, a recipient of 40 Platinum and Gold albums, has produced, recorded and performed with Janet Jackson, Tony Bennett, Al Green, The Rolling Stones, Gladys Knight and Frank Sinatra, among others. He was a founding member and drummer in the seminal funk band, Rufus, featuring Chaka Khan, from 1972 through 1978. He also held executive positions at various record, music and film companies, such as MCA/Universal’s Urban Music Department, Quincy Jones’ Qwest/Warner Bros. and 20th Century Fox Records & Films, where he and Ronnie Vance signed the likes of James Ingram, Bruce Hornsby and Joseph Williams. Fischer also played a key role in his former wife Natalie Cole’s Grammy award-winning albums Unforgettable and Take a Look.

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