Remembering Thomas Fredrickson (1928-2017)

It is with great sadness that we announce that School of Music Professor Emeritus (1952-1993) and Director (1970-1974), Thomas Fredrickson, 88, of Savoy passed away Sunday, July 30, 2017.

Professor Fredrickson earned his Bachelor of Music at Ohio Wesleyan University (1950), and the MM (1952) and PhD (1960) at the University of Illinois.  Winner of several ASCAP Awards, fluent in both concert music and jazz, Professor Fredrickson was a prolific and widely performed composer and active performer on the double bass. His compositions included symphonic, chamber, choral, and solo works, and several works for jazz band.  His publishers included Theodore Presser, Belwin Mills, and many other leading firms.  As a composer and performer, his work may be heard on Composers Recordings (CRI), New World Records, and many other labels.  Of particular note is an entire CD featuring Prof. Fredrickson’s work by current Bass Professor Michael Cameron.  Entitled Canto, the CD also features Professors Jonathan Keeble, William Moersch, Eric Dalheim, and others. Here is a link to Professor Cameron’s performance of "Music for Double Bass Alone".

That work, exemplary among Professor Fredrickson’s significant contributions to the bass literature, received performances all over the country, in Canada, and in Germany. Performances of “Music for Five Instruments” were broadcast on West German Radio and the BBC, among many live performances from Boston to Paris to Warsaw.  His “Illinois Variations,” commissioned by the CU Symphony for the state’s sesquicentennial, was also performed by the St. Louis Symphony.  Of his teaching of music theory, one former advisee wrote that “his expertise in the field and his ability to stimulate one’s own careful thinking were exemplary. His teaching is characterized by great enthusiasm and a keen ability to elucidate the critical philosophical issues lying at the heart of a given subject.”

Our sympathy goes to his wife, Betty, their three children, and several grandchildren.

School of Music Director Jeffrey Magee noted that "although I never met Professor Fredrickson, I was pleased that his grandsons Eric, Ryan, and Micky visited the School and spoke proudly and animatedly about their grandfather.  Another grandson, Drew, is a graduate of our School."

Funeral arrangements are incomplete at Morgan Memorial Home, 1304 Regency Drive West, Savoy.

There is a memorial planned to appear in the next issue of Sonorities.

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