December 2014, parks, Back Bay

arthur fiedler

arthur fiedler memorial in the esplanade (sonya kovacic)

arthur fiedler memorial in the esplanade (sonya kovacic)

Arthur Fiedler was a popular conductor for the Boston Pops Orchestra from 1930-1979. During his 50 year career he was responsible for making the Boston Pops a household name, both domestically and internationally, and popularizing classical music. Thanks to his legacy, the Boston Pops perform all over the world and offer free concerts, like the July 4th concert, at the Hatch Shell.

Fiedler was born into a musical family in Boston in 1894. His Austrian father played violin for the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and his mother played the piano. According to, “so many of his father’s ancestors had been violinists in Austria that over the years their surname became Fiedler, the German word for fiddler."

The statue of Fiedler, found near the Hatch Shell, was created in 1984 by Ralph Helmick,and contains 83 aluminum sheets. According to Boston Art's Commission, "Helmick’s innovative construction gives Fiedler’s head a sense of movement or vibration, like the strings of a violin, which Fiedler played."

The popular holiday song, Sleigh Ride, was composed by Fiedler's friend, Leroy Anderson. In 1949, the first recording of the song was performed by Fiedler and the Boston Pops and since then, Sleigh Ride, has become a signature song as well as holiday standard for the Boston Pops.