An exacting musician and exemplary instructor, hundreds of students have benefitted from this gifted pianist's knowledge and care.
Alexis Firstenberg Fisher, the College music community is grateful for your years of dedicated service to our students and to music programming at the College. A native of Yonkers, N.Y., you earned both your Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from Manhattan School of Music and also attended Indiana University School of Music in Bloomington, Indiana. You served as a member of the piano faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and taught piano at both Santa Clara University and San Jose City College.
Alexis, you first came to the College to teach piano lessons in 1986 and made crucial contributions to the department’s developing private instruction program, going on to design the department’s piano classes. By 1995, you were Director of Piano Studies for the Music Department and have served the department and its students with unfailing enthusiasm, grace, and professionalism. Alexis, you are a deeply committed, passionate, exacting musician who brings the best to all you do and who has inspired and positively shaped the musical journeys of hundreds of students, not to mention other faculty and staff in the department.
Professor Larry Stockton, head of the Music Department, considers you irreplaceable and notes that you have “set the bar very high for all of us to follow.” He also hopes you will remain involved with the department in some capacity. Skip Wilkins, associate professor of music, celebrates the “sober professionalism and very high standards” you bring to your work, stressing that you “always knew what was possible in music at Lafayette” and never lowered your standards. Professor Tony Cummings echoes that sentiment, Alexis, when he notes that in your interactions with students, you have “modeled a passion for true excellence, an understanding of high standards, and commendable demands.”
Piano instructor Anna Maria Marzullo calls you the consummate piano teacher and considers you the glue that united all of the adjuncts in the department. She particularly notes how you “always taught and played in service to the music and enthusiastically shared [your] respect and love for music with others.” Jennifer Kelly, associate professor of music and director of the arts, calls you a courageous and compassionate colleague, reminding us with your actions that we are all humans and working together.
Gloria Takacs, secretary for the music and art departments, admires the compassion and professionalism you bring to your teaching and notes that you demand excellence and push your students to their greatest potential. Gloria feels honored to be your friend.
Eric Van Hoven, voice and vocal coach, who has collaborated with you on several projects, particularly remembers tackling “some very strange sonnets!” and successfully working with you to secure pay increases for private lesson instructors at the College. The two of you also performed “Shakespeare, Sonnets and Song,” a program of Victor Fenigstein’s settings of Shakespeare’s sonnets, with spoken commentary, along with Leslie Johnson in 2011.
Alexis, while you have been a committed and determined teacher and colleague during your tenure at the College, you have tirelessly maintained your own career, performing as piano soloist in performances in California, Wisconsin, and in the Lehigh Valley. Additional chamber music performances over the years include recitals of music for cello and piano and repertoire for piano trio. Since 1992, you have collaborated with flutist, Susan Charlton, in the Charlton/Fisher Duo, and in 2016, you released a music CD called Don’t Cry, My Green Anchovy with Ivar Lunde, Jr.
Alexis, please know that you will be sorely missed by the Lafayette College music community. Each of your colleagues expressed tremendous gratitude not only for your years of exemplary service, but also for your authentic and continual good cheer and the camaraderie you shared with each one. We are grateful for your service to music programming at the College and for your role in building the private music instruction and piano courses we offer today. We hope you enjoy a wonderful retirement.