A Tribute to Irving Fine

Irving Fine conducting at Tanglewood

Irving Fine conducting at Tanglewood, 1962

Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Library of Congress, Music Division

Irving Fine (1914-1962)

Irving Fine

Each year, we celebrate the life, legacy, and music of composer, educator, and founder of the Brandeis School of Creative Arts Irving Fine, known for his remarkable gift for lyricism, whose masterfully crafted scores inevitably "sing." Aaron Copland wrote that his music "wins us over through its keenly conceived sonorities and its fully realized expressive content," praising it for "elegance, style, finish and a convincing continuity." Virgil Thomson cited an "unusual melodic grace."

Fine's initial training was in piano and he became a skilled pianist, admired by colleagues for his superior sightreading ability. Composition and theory studies were with Walter Piston and Edward Burlingame Hill at Harvard University, and with Nadia Boulanger in France and at Radcliffe College, Cambridge, Massachusetts. In addition, Fine studied choral conducting with Archibald T. Davison at Harvard and orchestral conducting with Serge Koussevitzky, at Tanglewood. At Harvard, where he became a close associate of Copland, Stravinsky, Koussevitzky and Leonard Bernstein, he taught theory and music history from 1939 to 1950; and at Brandeis University he taught composition and theory from 1950 to 1962. Fine also conducted the Harvard Glee Club, and for nine summers between 1946 and 1957 taught composition at the Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood. At Brandeis he was Walter W. Naumburg Professor of Music and chairman of the School of Creative Arts. Read more on the Irving Fine Society website.

Source: Library of Congress/Phillip Ramey