Remembering Fred Zenone, Orchestra Statesman

Posted on: October 28, 2010

The League of American Orchestras notes with great sadness the passing of Frederick Zenone, who died from cancer on October 22. Zenone was an iconic figure in the orchestra field. He served as a cellist in Washington’s National Symphony Orchestra for three decades, but his activities and influence in many areas throughout the orchestra field were widely felt. As chair of the International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians (ICSOM) from 1980-86, he gained important rights for symphony musicians from the American Federation of Musicians, and worked on crafting several landmark labor agreements and practices. Zenone was known especially as a statesman who consulted with troubled orchestras on “SWAT teams” alongside such orchestra managers as Henry Fogel and Albert K “Nick” Webster. These musician/manager pairs were pivotal in settling numerous strikes. Zenone served on the League of American Orchestras’ board of directors from 1983-89 and later on the board of the Symphony Orchestra Institute, of which he was also president. In 1992, during the League’s 50th anniversary, Symphony magazine named Zenone one of the 50 distinguished leaders whose work “touched the lives of American orchestras.”

Polyphonic.org, the website of the Orchestra Musicians Forum, is currently honoring Zenone with a page of recollections and tributes, and ICSOM chair Bruce Ridge invites readers to post their thoughts and memories of Zenone on the site. Visit the page here.

Posted October 28, 2010