Arthur Fiedler

Fiedler, Arthur, 1894–1979, American conductor, b. Brookline, Mass. Fiedler, who ultimately became a grandfatherly American musical icon, studied violin with his father, a member of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. He continued his musical studies in Berlin (1909–15), becoming a violinist (and later a violist) with the Boston Symphony upon his return to the United States. He founded the Boston Sinfonietta in 1924, and in 1929 inaugurated an enormously popular series of free outdoor summer concerts of light American and European music featuring musicians from the Symphony. The following year Fiedler was appointed conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra, with whom he performed classical pieces pleasing to general audiences. During the nearly 50 years that he led the group he also appeared as guest conductor with a number of major American symphonies. His spirited style, lively musicality, and the appealingly informal atmosphere in which he presented his concerts made Fiedler his era's great popularizer of light classical music. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1977.

See his daughter's biography-autobiography, Arthur Fiedler: Papa, the Pops and Me (1994) by Johanna Fiedler.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.