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Brian Leo Fennelly


1937 - 2015
Brian Leo Fennelly Obituary
Brian Leo Fennelly KINGSTON - Brian Leo Fennelly, 77, American Composer, passed away at home, peacefully in his sleep, Wednesday June 17th, 2015. Born Aug. 14, 1937 in Kingston, he was the son of the late Leo Paul Fennelly and Florence Magee Fennelly. Noted Composer of over 100 works for orchestra, chorus, and chamber ensembles, he was first educated as a mechanical engineer at Union College, Schenectady, N.Y. After service as a lieutenant in the Air Force, he returned to school and earned a Masters in Music and Ph.D. at Yale University in music, where he was a student of Mel Powell, Allen Forte and Gunther Schuller, among others. From 1968 to 1997 he was professor in the School of Arts and Science at New York University, where he taught graduate and undergraduate courses in music composition and music theory. Fennelly was active for many years on the boards of directors of the League of Composers-ISCM and American Composers Alliance. His service included terms as President and Vice President of League-ISCM and as Treasurer of ACA. He was also the founder and co-director of Washington Square Contemporary Music Society, which sponsored concerts of new music in New York City for almost 40 years. During his career, Brian garnered many awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1980 and an American Academy of Arts and Letters Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997. His music received prizes in many world-wide competitions and was widely performed and recorded by orchestras and ensembles in the country and in Europe. In 2013 Union College presented him with the Outstanding Engineering Alumnus Award. Brian was a passionately engaged composer right up until the very day he passed. Amidst his profound accomplishments, Brian found time for play and was an avid N Scale Model Railroad Train collector. In fact, he jokingly requested, “after cremation his internment will be in a cemetery on his N Scale model railroad.” Surviving is his beloved wife Jacqueline (Burhans) of 32 years; his son Liam Fennelly (wife Atieh) and granddaughter Sigol Sarah Fennelly (Paris, France); stepson Stephen Baczynsky (N.C.), stepdaughter Lisa Baczynsky-Scutt (husband Robin Scutt) (Fla.); stepdaughter Lori Baczynsky (N.Y.), and stepgrandsons David Sumliner (Hawaii), and Jordan Sumliner (Ga.). He was predeceased by his first wife, Priscilla Proxmire in 1978. Cremation and memorial arrangements are under the guidance of the Joseph V. Leahy Funeral Home, Inc., 27 Smith Avenue, Kingston. www.jvleahyfh.com. Private services were held at the funeral home on Wed. June 24th 2015. A memorial concert in his honor is being planned.
Published in the Daily Freeman on June 28, 2015
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