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Born in 1914
Inducted in 2001
Frederick Fennell studied percussion in the school of Cleveland, and was a member of the orchestra and band in high school although he already knew he would become a conductor. He studied conducting at the National Music Camp at Interlochen, Michigan, where he spent the summers of 1931 to 1933. He made his conducting debut at the World’s Fair in Chicago in 1933 with the National High School Band. Eastman School of Music, where he would make his career from 1939 to 1965, gave Fennell a scholarship in 1933. Fennell was made a member of the Eastman staff by Dr. Howard Hanson. Fennell received his Bachelor of Music degree from Eastman in 1937. He received the International Prize in Conducting, given by the Institute of International Education, and used it to travel and to study at the Salzburg Mozarteum Academy. He then returned to Eastman to complete his Master’s degree, which he received in 1939. Fennell joined the Eastman conducting faculty in 1939 and became conductor of Eastman’s Little Symphony. Fennell took a leave of absence from Eastman in 1943, but after the war he returned to Eastman becoming associate conductor with Dr. Hanson and Dr. Paul White of the Eastman School Orchestras. Fennell’s other positions include: conductor of the Eastman Wind Ensemble, conductor of the Eastman Chamber Orchestra, Associate Music Director of the Minneapolis Symphony (1962), conductor-in-residence at the University of Miami (1965), guest conductor of the Interlochen Arts Academy, and the first principal conductor of the Tokyo Kosei Wind Orchestra of Japan. Fennell received an honorary doctorate in music from the University of Rochester. He also received medals from Interlochen, the Midwest Clinic, and the John Philip Sousa Society. In 1994 he was given the Theodore Thomas Award of the Conductors’ Guild.