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Arthur Fiedler
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Born in Boston on December 17, 1894, conductor Arthur Fiedler was deeply rooted in European musical tradition, and his familial ties to the Boston Symphony Orchestra ran deep. His father, Emanuel Fiedler, was an Austrian-born violinist who played in the orchestra for twenty-five years, with whom he studied violin; his uncle Benny also played in the orchestra; and his mother was a gifted pianist who gave her son his first lessons. He was raised in Boston until his father retired from the BSO and took the family back to Austria. In 1909, his father took him to Berlin to study violin with Willy Hess, and Fiedler also studied chamber music with Ernst von Dohnányi and took conducting lessons as well. In 1913, he formed the Fiedler Trio with two musicians who, oddly enough, were also named Fiedler but were not relatives. During this period, he also worked in publishing houses in Vienna and Berlin. World War I provoked Fiedler's return to Boston in 1915, where he took a position as a second violinist in the symphony. Fiedler later performed in the orchestra as a violist and also doubled on celesta, piano, organ, and percussion. In 1924, Fiedler organized a smaller group, the 25-member Arthur Fiedler Sinfonietta, and took the ensemble on a New England tour. Five years later, he organized a series of free outdoor summer concerts at the Esplanade, on the banks of the Charles River, conducting light classical works and popular American tunes. The Boston Symphony Orchestra made note of their member's efforts, and in 1930 he was named to head the Boston Pops. He remained with the Pops until his death on July 10, 1979. Under Fiedler's direction, the Boston Pops made more recordings than any other orchestra in the world. His RCA discography includes collaborations with top pop, jazz, and classical artists, including Al Hirt, Chet Atkins, Duke Ellington, Stan Getz, Kate Smith, Leontyne Price, and Earl Wild. Outside of his work in Boston, the conductor appeared with the San Francisco Symphony in pops programs from 1951 until 1978, and he made guest appearances with other orchestras, including the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the New York Philharmonic. He also conducted internationally in Europe, South America, Africa, Australia, and Canada. In 1954, to celebrate the anniversary of the first Esplanade concert, the city of Boston dedicated the Arthur Fiedler Foot Bridge to the Charles? banks. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom at a White House ceremony in 1977, and in that same year, Fiedler was given the Freedoms Foundation American Exemplar Award. He received numerous honorary degrees from schools that include Harvard and Dartmouth. Arthur Fiedler's charismatic records and televised concerts introduced generations of Americans to the joys of the orchestra. His recordings remain some of the most popular and vibrant in all of classical music.

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