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Fiedler, Arthur

Fiedler, Arthur

Born in 1894


Inducted in 2001

Arthur Fiedler was born in Boston to parents who were musicians. Arthur’s mother taught him to play the piano. In Berlin, Arthur studied violin, piano and conducting at the Royal Academy of Music. He made his conducting debut at 17. In 1913 he and two other Fiedler relatives founded the Fiedler Trio. When World War I embroiled Europe, Arthur Fiedler returned to the United States. He joined the Boston Symphony under the directorship of Karl Muck in 1915. Fiedler played the violin, viola, piano, organ and percussion for the Symphony. In 1924 he founded his own group of musicians made up of members of the Boston Symphony, calling it the Fiedler Sinfonietta. He campaigned for, and in 1929, organized free summer concerts on the Esplanade along the Charles River in Boston. This was the beginning of an immensely popular tradition in Boston, bringing American popular music and light classical music to large groups of people who might not otherwise have attended a concert. Fiedler’s role in founding Boston’s Esplanade Concert tradition was commemorated in 1954 on its 25th anniversary with the dedication of the Arthur Fiedler Foot Bridge. The Sinfonietta concerts also served to demonstrate Fiedler’s ability as a conductor. When the directorship of the Boston Pops opened in 1930, Fiedler was appointed to the position, which he held for nearly half a century. Among Fiedler’s other conducting engagements were 26 summers with the San Francisco Pops, and concerts with the Boston, Chicago, Cleveland and Philadelphia Orchestras, the New York Philharmonic, and major orchestras in Europe, South America, Africa, Australia and Canada. The Presidential Medal of Freedom, one of Fiedler’s many awards, was presented to him by President Ford in 1977. He also received honorary degrees from many educational institutions, including Harvard and Dartmouth.