A public service of thanksgiving and celebration was held Tuesday at Memorial Church in honor of Arthur Fieldler, who died July 10 at the age of 84.
A capacity crowd of 1200 filled the church while crowds of people listened to the service by loudspeaker outside.
Senator Edward M. Kennedy '54, Seiji Ozawa, music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and Harry Ellis Dickson gave spoken tributes.
Rev. Peter J. Gomes, Plummer Professor of Christian Morals and minister in the Memorial Church; conducted the service. Service.
Fiedler's widow, Ellen Bottomley Fielder, and her children attended the service, as did friends and members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO) staff. "People from all walks of life, the Boston Symphony, the Pops, the trustees, all the symphony's stage employees, his chauffeur, and ushers were there," Dickson, assistant conductor, said yesterday.
"Many, many people became music lovers because of Arthur Fiedler. In Europe and Asia too. He was really a genius, making a very special tie between people and music. We were great friends ...he was like a father to me," said Ozawa, who broke down while giving the tribute.
"Arthur Fiedler knew that good music brings out the best in people," Kennedy said Tuesday.
Dickson called Fiedler a symbol of the common man, adding that Fiedler took music out of the ivory tower and brought it to the people. Dickson added however, that Fiedler was a man of great self-effacement who wouldn't have thought much of such praise.
Joseph Silverstein, concertmaster and assistant conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, led members of the orchestra in a musical tribute to Fiedler, playing works by Bach, Beethoven and Mozart during the service.
"It was a beautiful service, and the music was beautiful, and one felt that Fielder would not have objected too strenuously as it was a simple service," Dickson said.
Dickson added "everyone had great respect and admiration for him, he meant a great deal to a great many people."