Sunday, August 12, 2007


Albert James Fillmore (1913-1996) was a resident of Owosso, Michigan. Michael & Jean Coonrod of Interlochen, Michigan compiled a short book about Albert Fillmore's life as well as a CD of some selected compositions as a tribute to his long life as a Michigan musician par excellance. Follow this link for more information regarding the book and CD.
Also, the website features sound bytes of the compositions on the CD.

Here is an article written in honor of Albert Fillmore the day after he died in 1996.

February 28, 1996

Yesterday, Owosso lost one of its most prized and cherished citizens. Albert J. Fillmore died in Detroit at the age of 82. Mr. Fillmore was an accomplished pianist, composer, and teacher at the Center for Creative Studies in Detroit. He was eventually made Dean Emeritus of the school. His early education was in the Owosso Public Schools from which he graduated in the early 1930’s. He graduated from the University of Michigan with high honors and went on to study with the world renowned French composition teacher, Nadia Boulanger. Ms. Boulanger was the teacher of many early 20th century American composers as well as the teacher of composers from around the world. Aaron Copland was one of her students. After an illustrious teaching and performing career, Albert Fillmore “retired” in his native Owosso even though he continued to commute to Detroit to teach at the Center for Creative Studies. Owosso was richly blessed over a period years by Mr. Fillmore who became our resident impresario as he organized concerts and performances through Owosso Musicale and other organizations. He brought to the Owosso area many fine performers of national acclaim. He was a mentor to many young concert artists. Even during his lengthy hospitalization of the past year, he was organizing, planning, editing, and encouraging others while he was flat on his back or in a wheel chair.

There are many who will have their own personal memories of how they knew Albert Fillmore and the influence he had in their lives. I have those memories, too. However, I think the most vivid are those of visiting him in the hospital and seeing this man flat on his back arranging the layout of the Michigan Music Teachers’ newsletter of which he was the editor. I remarked that perhaps someone else might be called in to take over the task. He quipped that a deadline had to be met, and he had all the time in the world. Others would be too busy to take over. He never gave up.

He has left us all a legacy in his musical compositions. They were skillfully crafted and beautiful in every detail. Owosso may have its author in J. Oliver Curwood, its painter in Frederick Frieske, its politician in Thomas E. Dewey, but its famous resident composer can be no other than Albert J. Fillmore. I will miss him as will a lot of people in Owosso, throughout Michigan and the nation. Farewell, Bert, you have enriched our lives with the song in your heart.




Anonymous said...

I studied piano and violin as a kid at the instiute in Detroit and played in the school Orchestra. Had a musician relative but I was hopeless LOL. I did not appreciate that this nice patient man was so Famous. I took lessons with DIakanow before him. That's an OLD musty building with memories

satsang said...

I studied piano for 4 years at the Detroit Community Music School and Mr. Fillmore was my student. I still perform as a pianist and organist at local churches. I miss Mr. Fillmore. He was a fine teacher and he taught me a bit about some of my family's musical history. One day after one of our lessons, he told me about a jazz pianist whom he'd taught during the 1950s named T.J. Fowler whom he taught and of whom he was greatly impressed. I told him that he was my great uncle, which he was in fact. This turned out to be a pleasant surprise and Mr. Fillmore showed me all of his accomplishments as a student there at DCMS back when it was called the Detroit Conservatory of Music. Great man and great memories.