(bScarborough, 22 April 1906; d Scarborough,18 Feb 1997). English writer on music and composer. Largely self-taught, he became organist of Holy Trinity, Scarborough, at the age of 12, and at 16 was articled to Claude Keeton, organist of St Martin’s, Scarborough, gaining much practical experience with local choral societies and amateur orchestras. One or two of his youthful works were played by the local spa orchestra, but the crucial years in his life were 1928 to 1934, when he offered his services as amanuensis to the blind and paralysed Delius at Grez-sur-Loing in France. His completion from dictation of such scores as A Song of Summer and Songs of Farewell is an achievement without parallel in music. He recalled his often harrowing time with Delius, whom he nursed in the weeks up to his death, in the classic book Delius as I Knew him (London, 1936/R, 2/1966, 3/1981), which was memorably recreated in Ken Russell’s 1968 BBC TV film Song of Summer. Another personal account of that period was given by Fenby himself in a 1982 television documentary Song of Farewell.
After Delius’s death he assisted Beecham with the 1935 Covent Garden production of Delius’s opera Koanga; he was music adviser to Boosey & Hawkes from 1935 to 1939; and after the war he founded and directed the music department of the North Riding Training College, Scarborough (1948–62). On Beecham’s death he was appointed artistic director of the 1962 Bradford Delius Centenary Festival, and that year was created an OBE. From 1964 to 1977 he was professor of composition at the RAM. He provided the film score for Alfred Hitchcock’s Jamaica Inn (1939) but destroyed almost all his own compositions, including a symphony, a cello concerto and a setting of The Hound of Heaven, in the belief that ‘only genius matters’. Fenby’s only surviving orchestral work is the pastiche overture Rossini on Ilkla Moor. In 1968 he served as chairman of the Composers’ Guild. For many years, as a uniquely privileged authority on the music of Delius, Fenby travelled widely, lecturing, writing and broadcasting as well as editing, accompanying, conducting and recording the music of Delius, and advising the Delius Trust. He received honorary doctorates from the universities of Jacksonville (Florida), Warwick and Bradford, and honorary fellowships or memberships of the RCM, RAM, Trinity College, London, and the Royal Philharmonic Society, on whose committee he also served.
S.Lloyd, ed.: Fenby on Delius: Collected Writings on Delius to mark Eric Fenby’s 90th Birthday (London, 1997)
CHRISTOPHER PALMER/STEPHEN LLOYD
American firm of electric guitar, amplifier and audio equipment manufacturers. The company takes its name from (Clarence) Leo Fender (b Anaheim, CA, 10 Aug 1909; d Fullerton, CA, 22 Nov 1994). He built his first acoustic guitar in the 1920s, before studying accounting. In 1939 he set up a radio repair company in Fullerton, California, and in about 1944 he was joined by Clayton Orr (‘Doc’) Kauffman, a musician who had designed equipment for Rickenbacker. As the K & F Company they began the production of amplifiers and steel guitars, designed for playing across the lap. In 1946 the partnership broke up and Fender soon formed the Fender Electric Instrument Company, based in Fullerton, California. George Fullerton joined the company in 1948. Two years later Fender introduced the world’s first commercially produced solid-bodied electric guitar, the Fender Broadcaster (renamed Telecaster in 1951; see illustration). In 1951 the company marketed the Fender Precision Bass, the first Electric bass guitar.
In 1954 Fender launched the stylish Stratocaster electric guitar, the first solid-body to use three pickups and the first Fender instrument to have the distinctive tremolo arm. Further models were introduced in later years, including the Jazzmaster (1958), the Jazz Bass (1960), a six-string bass (1961), the Jaguar (1962) and the Mustang (1964). By 1964, when Fender’s health failed and Randall began negotiations to sell the Fender companies to CBS, the workforce numbered about 600. The sale was completed in January 1965 for $13 million.
Leo Fender regained his health and joined CBS/Fender as a design consultant, working on the Fender-Rhodes electric piano and the Mustang electric bass guitar before he resigned in 1970. He set up CLF Research with Fullerton, which built guitars for Music Man until the late 1970s. In 1979 Fender and Fullerton formed G & L Music Sales to produce their own electric guitars and basses. CBS continued to use the Fender brand, introducing a new management team in 1981. During 1982 Fender Japan was established to make Fender instruments in Japan; the company also began to produce Vintage reissue instruments which sought to replicate classic guitars of the 1950s and 60s. The Squier brand for lower priced Fender instruments was launched in 1983. In 1985 the Fender companies were sold by CBS to a group of investors led by Fender’s president, Bill Schultz. Improved American Standard versions of the Stratocaster (1986) and Telecaster (1988) were issued. At the close of the 20th century Fender was one of the most successful brands in the international electric guitar business.
See alsoElectric guitar, §3.
L.Fender: ‘Pro's Reply’, Guitar Player, v/6 (1971), 9, 38 only