Boston's Great Maestro Arthur Fiedler


Through the use of photographs, correspondence, memorabilia, and awards this exhibition documents the life and career of Arthur Fiedler and his legendary association with the Boston Pops Orchestra. The exhibition also features notable pieces from Fiedler's own collection of historic musical memorabilia. The exhibition is housed in the Arthur Fiedler Reading Room along with the Maestro's private library of musical scores and singular pieces of memorabilia.

For more than five decades, Arthur Fiedler (1894 - 1979) was one of the best-known conductors in the world as the leader of the Boston Pops Orchestra. In that capacity, he served as a musical ambassador, bringing classical and popular music to audiences around the world. While Fiedler first wielded the baton at the helm of the Pops in 1924, he was not offered the position permanently until 1930. Although he had been acting conductor for the group since 1927, he sealed the job when he raised money for a series of outdoor concerts at the Esplanade along the Charles River. On July 4, 1929, Fiedler conducted the first of six outdoor concerts with works by Verdi, Wagner, and Romberg. The opening number was what would become the orchestra's signature tune: John Philip Sousa's "Stars and Stripes Forever."

Over the course of his tenure with the Pops, Fiedler proved to be both a showman and a shrewd programmer. His concerts mixed classical works by composers like Mozart and Beethoven with contemporary music that ranged from Broadway to the Beatles. He went on to host television broadcasts of Evening at the Pops on public television and formed the Boston Pops Touring Ensemble.

Arthur Fiedler died of cardiac arrest while reviewing scores for an upcoming concert at his home in Brookline, Massachusetts on July 10, 1979 at the age of 84.

This exhibition is no longer on display.

Alan Cumming
Arthur Fiedler