Fiedler in 1968
|Born||December 17, 1894|
|Died||July 10, 1979 84) (aged|
Arthur Fiedler (December 17, 1894 – July 10, 1979) was a long-time conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra, a symphony orchestra that specializes in popular and light classical music. With a combination of musicianship and showmanship, he made the Boston Pops one of the best-known orchestras in the United States. Fiedler was sometimes criticized for over-popularizing music, particularly when adapting popular songs or edited portions of the classical repertoire, but he kept performances informal and sometimes self-mocking to attract a bigger audience.
The Boston Pops Orchestra is an American orchestra based in Boston, Massachusetts that specializes in playing light classical and popular music.
Fiedler was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Johanna (Bernfeld) and Emanuel Fiedler.His parents were Austrian Jewish immigrants. His father was a violinist who played in the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and his mother was a pianist. He grew up in Boston, and attended Boston Latin School until his father retired in the early 1900s, and they moved to Vienna, Austria, in 1910. The family soon moved again, to Berlin, where from 1911 to 1915 young Fiedler studied violin at the Royal Academy of Music (Hochschule für Musik Berlin) under Willy Hess. Fiedler returned to Boston at the beginning of World War I. In 1915 he joined the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Karl Muck as a violinist. He also worked as a pianist, organist, and percussionist.
Massachusetts, officially the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, is the most populous state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. It borders on the Atlantic Ocean to the east, the states of Connecticut and Rhode Island to the south, New Hampshire and Vermont to the north, and New York to the west. The state is named after the Massachusett tribe, which once inhabited the east side of the area, and is one of the original thirteen states. The capital of Massachusetts is Boston, which is also the most populous city in New England. Over 80% of Massachusetts's population lives in the Greater Boston metropolitan area, a region influential upon American history, academia, and industry. Originally dependent on agriculture, fishing and trade, Massachusetts was transformed into a manufacturing center during the Industrial Revolution. During the 20th century, Massachusetts's economy shifted from manufacturing to services. Modern Massachusetts is a global leader in biotechnology, engineering, higher education, finance, and maritime trade.
The Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO) is an American orchestra based in Boston, Massachusetts. It is one of the five major American symphony orchestras commonly referred to as the "Big Five". Founded in 1881, the BSO plays most of its concerts at Boston's Symphony Hall and in the summer performs at Tanglewood.
The Boston Latin School is a public exam school in Boston, Massachusetts. It was established on April 23, 1635, making it both the oldest school in America and the first public school in the United States. The Public Latin School was a bastion for educating the sons of the Boston "Brahmin" elite, resulting in the school claiming many prominent New Englanders as alumni. Its curriculum follows that of the 18th century Latin school movement, which holds the classics to be the basis of an educated mind. Four years of Latin are mandatory for all pupils who enter the school in the 7th grade, three years for those who enter in the 9th. In 2007, the school was named one of the top 20 high schools in the United States by U.S. News & World Report magazine. It was named a 2011 "Blue Ribbon School of Excellence", the Department of Education's highest award. As of 2018, it is listed under the "gold medal" list, ranking 48 out of the top 100 high schools in the United States by U.S. News & World Report.
In 1924, Fiedler formed the Boston Sinfonietta,a chamber music orchestra composed of Boston Symphony members, and started a series of free outdoor concerts.
Chamber music is a form of classical music that is composed for a small group of instruments—traditionally a group that could fit in a palace chamber or a large room. Most broadly, it includes any art music that is performed by a small number of performers, with one performer to a part. However, by convention, it usually does not include solo instrument performances.
Fiedler was appointed the eighteenth conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra in 1930.While the position of conductor of the Boston Pops both prior to and after Fiedler tended to be a phase of a conductor's career, Fiedler made it his life's work, having the position for a half-century.
With Fiedler's direction, the Boston Pops reportedly made more recordings than any other orchestra in the world, most of them for RCA Victor, with total sales exceeding $50 million. His recordings began in July 1935 at Boston's Symphony Hall with RCA Victor, including a world premiere recording of Jacob Gade's "Jalousie", which eventually sold more than a million copies,and the first complete recording of Rhapsody in Blue by George Gershwin (with Jesús María Sanromá as soloist; around that time they also made the first recording of Edward MacDowell's Second Concerto). In 1946, he conducted the Boston Pops in one of the first American recordings devoted to excerpts from a film score, Dmitri Tiomkin's music for the David O. Selznick Technicolor epic Duel in the Sun . RCA Victor released an album of ten-inch 78-rpm discs complete with photographs from the film.
Jacob Thune Hansen Gade was a Danish violinist and composer, mostly of orchestral popular music. He is remembered today for a single tune, the familiar "Jalousie", also known as Jalousie 'Tango Tzigane' and Tango Jalousie.
Rhapsody in Blue is a 1924 musical composition by the American composer George Gershwin for solo piano and jazz band, which combines elements of classical music with jazz-influenced effects.
George Jacob Gershwin was an American composer and pianist whose compositions spanned both popular and classical genres. Among his best-known works are the orchestral compositions Rhapsody in Blue (1924) and An American in Paris, the songs Swanee (1919) and Fascinating Rhythm (1924), the jazz standard I Got Rhythm (1930), and the opera Porgy and Bess (1935) which spawned the hit Summertime.
Fiedler's June 20, 1947, recording of Gaîté Parisienne by Jacques Offenbach was eventually released by RCA as their first long-playing classical album (RCA Victor LM-1001), in 1950. He recorded the same music in 1954 in stereo and began making regular stereo recordings in 1956. A number of Fiedler's recordings were released as 45-rpm "extended play" discs, beginning in 1949, such as Tchaikovsky's Marche Slave and Ketèlbey's In a Persian Market (RCA Victor ERA-2). Besides recording light classics, Fiedler also recorded music from Broadway shows and Hollywood film scores, as well as arrangements of popular music, especially the Beatles. He and the Boston Pops occasionally recorded classical works that were favorites, but not considered as "light" as most of the pieces that he conducted. He made but a single recording with the Boston Symphony Orchestra: Dvorak's New World Symphony . There were also recordings of chamber music by his Sinfonietta. Fiedler and the Boston Pops recorded exclusively for RCA Victor until 1970, when they switched to Deutsche Grammophon for classical releases with co-owned Polydor Records for his arrangements of pop music compositions and then London Records. His last album, devoted to disco, was titled Saturday Night Fiedler.
Gaîté Parisienne is a ballet choreographed by Léonide Massine to music by Jacques Offenbach orchestrated by Manuel Rosenthal in collaboration with Jacques Brindejonc-Offenbach, the composer's nephew. With a libretto and décor by Comte Étienne de Beaumont and costumes executed by Barbara Karinska, it was first presented by the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo at the Théâtre de Monte Carlo on 5 April 1938.
Jacques Offenbach was a German-French composer, cellist and impresario of the romantic period. He is remembered for his nearly 100 operettas of the 1850s–1870s and his uncompleted opera The Tales of Hoffmann. He was a powerful influence on later composers of the operetta genre, particularly Johann Strauss, Jr. and Arthur Sullivan. His best-known works were continually revived during the 20th century, and many of his operettas continue to be staged in the 21st. The Tales of Hoffmann remains part of the standard opera repertory.
In a Persian Market is a piece of light classical music for orchestra with optional chorus by Albert Ketèlbey who composed it in 1920. Subtitled Intermezzo Scene, it was published by Bosworth in 1921. It evokes exotic images of camel-drivers, jugglers, and snake-charmers. When it was first published in a version for piano, it was advertised as an "educational novelty".
Fiedler was also associated with the San Francisco Pops Orchestra for 26 summers (beginning during 1949), and conducted many other orchestras throughout the world. He was a featured conductor on several of NBC's The Standard Hour programs in 1950 and 1951, conducting the San Francisco Symphony in the War Memorial Opera House; the performances were preserved on transcription discs and later released on audio cassette.
In very rare visiting performances, Fiedler accepted the invitation to conduct Don Caneva's John Hersey High School Bands after reviewing their latest recordings. Caneva said, “I was tremendously pleased and delighted when he said he would accept our invitation, after hearing a recent recording of the band." Fiedler ended up conducting twice for Caneva's bands in 1971 and 1972. In the final 1972 performance the band opened the Symphonic Winds portion of the concert with the "Festive Overture" by Dmitri Schostakovich, followed with the "American Salute" by Morton Gould. For the conclusion of this portion, Fiedler chose "The Finale From The New World Symphony" by Anton Dvorak. He also conducted Leroy Anderson's "Serenata" with the high school band.
Fiedler had many different hobbies. He was fascinated by the work of firefighters and would travel in his own vehicle to large fires in and around Boston at any time of the day or night to watch the firefighters at work. He was even made an "Honorary Captain" in the Boston Fire Department. A number of other fire departments gave him honorary fire helmets and/or badges. The official biography of Fiedler reports that the conductor once helped in the rescue efforts at the tragic Cocoanut Grove fire in Boston in 1942. An avid sailor, he volunteered during the early days of World War II for the Temporary Reserve of the U.S. Coast Guard and was later a member of the Coast Guard Auxiliary.
Fiedler conducted at the nationally televised opening ceremonies of Walt Disney World in 1971. He also appeared on numerous telecasts on Evening at Pops , carried on PBS stations nationwide.
In 1972, Fiedler was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Music from Berklee College of Music.
Fiedler is best remembered by contemporary audiences for his conducting of the Boston Pops at the outdoor Hatch Memorial Shell on the July 4, 1976 celebration of the US Bicentennial. The rendition of the 1812 Overture led by a jacketless and demonstrative Fiedler, capped by a huge fireworks finale over the Charles River was the climax of all day long network television coverage. The video of the aged but obviously delighted Fiedler puffing out his cheeks to the beat of the music and mugging for his musicians was one of the most talked about images of the country's celebration.
In honor of Fiedler's influence on American music, on October 23, 1976 he was awarded the prestigious University of Pennsylvania Glee Club Award of Merit.Beginning in 1964, this award "established to bring a declaration of appreciation to an individual each year that has made a significant contribution to the world of music and helped to create a climate in which our talents may find valid expression."
On January 10, 1977, Fiedler was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Gerald Ford.
In 1942, Fiedler married Ellen Bottomley, and they had three children: Johanna, Deborah, and Peter.
In 1994, Doubleday published a book written by his daughter, Johanna, titled Arthur Fiedler: Papa, the Pops and Me.
Fiedler died on July 10, 1979 after having been in failing health for some time. During the previous winter, he suffered a stroke that temporarily left him unable to speak, but he quickly recovered and in May conducted a concert to celebrate his 50th anniversary as conductor of the Pops. A few days later, he had a mild heart attack after another performance. He collapsed while studying music scores in his Brookline, Massachusetts home and suffered cardiac arrest. After his death, Boston honored him with a stylized sculpture, an oversized bust of Fiedler, near the Charles River Esplanade, and named a footbridge over Storrow Drive after him. This area is home of the free concert series that continues through the present day. Composer John Williams succeeded Fiedler as the orchestra's nineteenth director. His widow, Ellen Bottomley Fiedler, died October 25, 1984, in Framingham, Massachusetts. She was 70.
The San Francisco Symphony (SFS), founded in 1911, is an American orchestra based in San Francisco, California. Since 1980, the orchestra is resident at the Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall in the City's Hayes Valley neighborhood. The San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra and the San Francisco Symphony Chorus (1972) are part of the organization. Since 1995, Michael Tilson Thomas has been the orchestra's music director. Tilson Thomas is scheduled to conclude his tenure as the orchestra's music director in 2020, when Esa-Pekka Salonen is scheduled to become the orchestra's next music director.
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) was founded by Theodore Thomas in 1891. The ensemble makes its home at Orchestra Hall in Chicago and plays a summer season at the Ravinia Festival. The music director is Riccardo Muti, who began his tenure in 2010. The CSO is one of five American orchestras commonly referred to as the "Big Five".
Arturo Toscanini was an Italian conductor. He was one of the most acclaimed musicians of the late 19th and of the 20th century, renowned for his intensity, his perfectionism, his ear for orchestral detail and sonority, and his eidetic memory. He was at various times the music director of La Scala in Milan, the Metropolitan Opera in New York, and the New York Philharmonic. Later in his career he was appointed the first music director of the NBC Symphony Orchestra (1937–54), and this led to his becoming a household name through his radio and television broadcasts and many recordings of the operatic and symphonic repertoire. Toscanini had absolute pitch.
RCA Records is an American record label owned by Sony Music, a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America. It is one of Sony Music's four flagship labels, alongside RCA's former long-time rival Columbia Records, Arista Records, and Epic Records. The label has released multiple genres of music, including pop, classical, rock, hip hop, electronic, R&B, blues, jazz, and country. Its name is derived from the initials of its defunct parent company, the Radio Corporation of America (RCA). It was fully acquired by Bertelsmann in 1986, making it a part of Bertelsmann Music Group (BMG); however, RCA Records became a part of Sony BMG Music Entertainment, a merger between BMG and Sony Music, in 2004, and was acquired by the latter in 2008, after the dissolution of Sony BMG and the restructuring of Sony Music. It is the second oldest record label in American history, after sister label Columbia Records.
Erich Leinsdorf was an Austrian-born American conductor. He performed and recorded with leading orchestras and opera companies throughout the United States and Europe, earning a reputation for exacting standards as well as an acerbic personality. He also published books and essays on musical matters.
Charles Munch was an Alsacian, German-born symphonic conductor and violinist. Noted for his mastery of the French orchestral repertoire, he was best known as music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
Eugene Ormandy was a Hungarian-American conductor and violinist, best known for his association with the Philadelphia Orchestra, as its music director. The maestro's 44-year association with the orchestra is one of the longest enjoyed by any conductor with a single orchestra. Under his baton, the Philadelphia Orchestra had three gold records and won two Grammy Awards.
The Tanglewood Festival Chorus, directed by James Burton, is a chorus which performs with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Boston Pops in major choral works. The Tanglewood Festival Chorus (TFC) was organized in the spring of 1970, when founding conductor John Oliver became director of vocal and choral activities at the Tanglewood Music Center, the summer home of the BSO. Originally formed for performances at the BSO's summer home at the behest of the BSO's conductor designate Seiji Ozawa, the Tanglewood Festival Chorus is the official chorus of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Boston Pops Orchestra year-round, performing in Boston, New York and Tanglewood.
A Trumpeter's Lullaby is a short composition for solo trumpet and orchestra, written by American composer Leroy Anderson in 1949. The two and a half minute piece was premiered on May 9, 1950, by the Boston Pops Orchestra with Arthur Fiedler conducting and French-born American Roger Voisin as trumpet soloist. It was composed at the request of Voisin, who was principal trumpeter of the Boston Pops Orchestra at the time. It was first recorded on June 18, 1950, with Fiedler conducting Roger Voisin and the Boston Pops. Three months later it was recorded with Anderson himself conducting and James F. Burke as trumpet soloist. The first stereo recording was made in October 1956 with Frederick Fennell conducting the Eastman-Rochester Pops Orchestra, recorded in one take without rehearsal. The (uncredited) soloist was Sidney Mear.
Erich Kunzel, Jr. was an American orchestra conductor. Called the "Prince of Pops" by the Chicago Tribune, he performed with a number of leading pops and symphony orchestras, especially the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra (CPO), which he led for 32 years.
Dynagroove is a recording process introduced in 1963 by RCA Victor that, for the first time, used analog computers to modify the audio signal used to produce master discs for LPs. The intent was to boost bass on quiet passages, and reduce the high-frequency tracing burdens (distortion) for the less-compliant, "ball" or spherical-tipped playback cartridges then in use. With boosted bass, tracing demands could be reduced in part by reduced recording levels, sometimes supplemented by peak compression. This added top-end margin permitted selective pre-emphasis of some passages for greater perceived (psychological) brilliance of the recording as a whole. As with any compander, the program material itself changed the response of the Dynagroove electronics that processed it. But, because the changes were multiple and algorithmic, RCA justifiably referred to the analog device as a computer.
RCA Victrola was a budget record label introduced by RCA Victor in the early 1960s to reissue classical recordings originally released on the RCA Victor "Red Seal" label. The name "Victrola" came from the early console phonographs first marketed by the Victor Talking Machine Company in 1906. Many of RCA Victrola's reissues included recordings from the historic RCA Victor "Living Stereo" series first released in 1958, using triple channel stereophonic tapes recorded as early as 1954. There were also some first stereo releases of recordings that had previously been available only in monophonic versions. For several years, Victrola released both stereo and mono versions of many albums, many of them in "reprocessed" (fake) stereo.
Nathaniel Johnson, veteran American radio broadcaster and record producer, was born in Concord, Massachusetts where he attended both private and public schools. From an early age, he showed a remarkable aptitude for music and sound reproduction.
Richard Mohr was one of RCA Victor’s most prominent producers of classical and operatic music recordings from 1943 through 1977. His producing credits included recording the casts of the world premieres of Samuel Barber's Vanessa and Gian Carlo Menotti's Amahl and the Night Visitors, as well as the first LP recordings of Ernani,Luisa Miller and Lucrezia Borgia and three versions each of Rigoletto,Aida,La Traviata and Il Trovatore.
Giovanni Bolzoni was an Italian composer and violinist, who is known for his Minuet for String Orchestra.
Max Schönherr was an Austrian composer, arranger and conductor.
RCA Red Seal is a classical music label whose origin dates to 1902 and is currently owned by Sony Music.
Newton Hart Wayland was an American orchestral conductor, arranger, composer and keyboardist. The product of an elite musical education, Wayland was known for his dedication to performing for the broadest possible audience.
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