Arthur Fiedler Collection
Arthur Fiedler (December 17, 1894 - July 10, 1979) was
the long-time conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra, a symphony
orchestra that specialized in popular music. With a combination of
musicianship and showmanship, he made the Pops the best-known orchestra
in the country. Some criticized him for watering down music,
particularly when adapting popular songs or edited portions of the
classical repertoire, but Fiedler deliberately kept performances
informal, light and often self-mocking to attract more listeners.
Fiedler was born in Boston, Massachusetts. His father was an
Austrian-born violinist who played in the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and
his mother was a pianist and musician. He grew up in Boston, and
attended Boston Latin School until his father retired and returned to
Austria, where he studied and worked until returning to Boston at the
start of World War I. In 1909, his father took him to Berlin to study
violin with Willy Hess, and then in 1915 he joined the Boston Symphony
Orchestra under Karl Muck as a violinist. He also worked as a pianist,
organist, and percussionist.
In 1924 he formed the Boston Sinfonietta, a chamber music orchestra made
up of Boston Symphony members, and started a series of free outdoor
concerts. He was appointed the eighteenth conductor of the Boston Pops
in 1930, a position he held for a half-century.
Under Fiedler's direction, the Boston Pops reportedly made more
recordings than any other orchestra in the world, with total sales of
albums, singles, tapes, and cassettes exceeding $50 million. Fiedler was
also associated with the San Francisco Pops Orchestra for 26 summers,
and conducted many other orchestras throughout the world.
As a hobby, 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 and was honored
in many other cities where he was made an Honorary Chief and presented
with a badge and/or other symbols of the office such as a suitably
labeled fire helmet. He was also an avid collector of antique firematic
objects. After his death much of this priceless collection was donated
to the Boston Fire Museum which proudly displays many of the items as
the Arthur Fiedler Collection.
Click here for a sample of the Fiedler
Arthur Fiedler visits Ft. Wayne Indiana and is made an
and officer of the Fire Department 1973
Arthur Fiedler rides on 1926 American La France Pumper owned by FBBA
Florida fire buff group in Orlando, Fl
Arthur Fiedler died in Brookline, Massachusetts, at age of 85.
After his passing, the city of Boston honored him with an abstract
sculpture on the Boston Esplanade, home of the free concert series that
continues through the present day. The sculpture is an oversized bust of