Frederick Fennell has died

Discussion in 'Obituaries' started by PeterBale, Dec 8, 2004.

  1. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    Hadleigh, Essex
    Wasn't sure the best place to post this, but here seemed the most appropriate: I've just read on the OTJ that Frederick Fennell has passed away. One of the pioneers of wind ensemble music in the USA, he was a great campaigner, and introduced much new music, largely through his association with the Eastman Wind Ensemble and their recordings on the Mercury label. He also produced new editions of a number of Sousa works, and right up until the end of his life was active as a music educator and band trainer.

    Here's a link to the item on
  2. Brian Bowen

    Brian Bowen Active Member

    Sarasota, Florida, USA
    Dr Fennell, who was born in 1914, passed away peacefully on 7 December at his home in Florida.

    I used to own his LP recording with the Eastman Wind Ensemble that included the West Point Symphony (Morton Gould). I remember at the time being very impressed by the playing quality and the vivid Mercury Living Presence sound. I believe CD compilations from various old recordings have reappeared.
  3. Dianamite

    Dianamite Member

    Columbus, Ohio USA
    Really sad to hear this- I remember when he came to Ohio State to conduct our Concert Band in "Pictures at an Exhibition." He was an incredible conductor- I even remember him directing a "Tuba Christmas" ensemble on the steps of the Capital Building in Washington, D.C.! And of course the Eastman Wind Ensemble is tops...!
  4. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    Isle of Arran and lovin' it!
    Sad news but he left a legacy of wonderful, pioneering wind band recordings with the Eastman Wind Ensemble, some of which, as has been mentioned, are seeing a renaissance in CD re-releases.
  5. Brian Bowen

    Brian Bowen Active Member

    Sarasota, Florida, USA
    For those interested, a colleague has sent me the following which has a note from Dr Fennell's daughter:

    An era ended today with the passing of the great wind conductor Frederick
    Fennell, who founded the Wind Ensemble concept at the Eastman school some
    50 years ago. the following email has been circulating today:

    From Fred Fennell's daughter...

    I want you, and the greater music community to know that my father died
    peacefully in his sleep early this morning, Tuesday, December 7, 2004.
    Elizabeth and I were by his side. I had promised him that I would do all I
    could to get him back to Siesta Key so he could watch the sun set over the
    ocean. With the help of Hospice, he arrived home in time to see the
    brilliant orange and pinks in the western skies last evening. A bit before
    Midnight, dad told me he was "frustrated and disappointed." When I asked
    him,"Why?" he replied, "There's no drummer here yet. I can't die without a
    drummer!" I told him that I loved him, and that "Heaven's best drummer was
    on the way." Moments later he said, "I hear him! I hear him! I'm OK now."
    This was my final conversation with my dad.

    I was blessed to be able to dress my father in his finest set of tails
    after he died, complete with the usual struggle with his tie. Elizabeth
    asked if he could be "dressed up" and I could think of nothing finer for a
    lasting memory. Dad asked to be cremated and that I scatter his ashes in
    the woods at Interlochen, Michigan this summer. This, of course, I will do

    Elizabeth is OK at this point. We are closely watching her, monitoring her
    blood sugar levels and seeing that she gets the diet and rest she needs
    after such a life transition.

    There will be a small Memorial Service at a church in Siesta Key. No date
    or time has been set yet. As knowledge of my father's death is
    communicated, please keep both Elizabeth and me in your prayers.

    Fondly Cathy Fennell Martensen

    I've just learned that Fred Fennell lived not far from me. Siesta Key is part of Sarasota. I hope to attend the memorial service mentioned above.
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