On December 7, 2004 Frederick Fennell died at his home in Sonesta Key, Florida. He was 90 years of age. More than any other conductor Dr. Fennell created the modern concert band as a vehicle for serious music. In the 1930's he founded the Eastman Wind Ensemble and immediately set about creating a serious wind band repertoire. Besides reviving the neglected wind ensemble scores of England's Gustav Holst (which give a very different musical impression of the composer of "The Planets") Fennell commissioned countless American composers to write original scores for his group. (Some of these works - like Vittorio Giannini's Symphony - have become American classics.) His recordings (with the Eastman Wind Ensemble) in the 1950's and 1960's for the Mercury label are classics. Later, in the 1970's, Fennell re-recorded some of this distinctive repertoire in the new digital format for the Cleveland based Telarc label with the Cleveland Symphonic Winds - the principal wind players of the great Cleveland Orchestra. These Cleveland sessions have attained legendary status. Fennell continued to conduct and record around the globe - right through his final year. Yet Fennell was not only the greatest wind band conductor of the 20th century. He was also an eloquent interpreter of the symphonic repertoire. During his decade as Professor at the University Of Miami School Of Music, Fennell worked tirelessly to establish a professional symphony orchestra and advance the cause of symphonic music in the community. With the old Miami Philharmonic Orchestra Fennell led a magisterial account of Brahms's 1st Symphony; a tautly intense, Toscanini-like traversal of the Beethoven 7th Symphony; and vibrant performances of music by Weber, Wagner, and Schumann. For his farewell to UM he directed student forces in an eloquent, moving performance of the Beethoven 9th ("Choral") Symphony. His enthusiasm and passion for music were irrepressible! Dr. Fennell will be greatly missed. 

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