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Dr. Edwin R. Fissinger (1920-1990), a charter member of the American Choral Director’s Association, had an active career as a conductor and composer for forty-five years. In addition to orchestral, piano, and vocal compositions, he wrote 183 choral works, a substantial contribution of quality literature to this medium. His music has attracted the attention of serious choral musicians and has received performances by numerous All-State Choirs and at regional and national ACDA conventions.
Edwin Fissinger received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in composition from the American Conservatory of Music under the tutelage of the eminent composer Leo Sowerby. His doctorate in choral conducting and literature was from the University of Illinois. Fissinger’s teaching career included the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago (1947-1954), University of Illinois (1955-1957), University of Illinois, Chicago Circle (1957-1967), and North Dakota State University (1967-1985).
The North Dakota State University Concert Choir and Madrigal Singers received recognition and numerous awards under Fissinger’s direction. The Concert Choir was selected by audition to perform at the North Central MENC convention in 1969, the National MENC Convention in 1970, and the ACDA national conventions in 1973, 1977, and 1983. At the 1977 convention his choir participated in an American choral music documentary produced by Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen (Second German Television Network). During the Christmas seasons of 1978, 1979, and 1980, the NDSU Concert Choir was one of the featured choirs on "The Cavalcade of Christmas Music," a CBS radio network program.
Fissinger has been included in editions of Who’s Who in the Middle West, the International Who’s Who of Musicians, Men of Achievement, Personalities of America, and Who’s Who in American Classical Music. The following companies publish his choral music: Associated, Colla Voce, Hal Leonard, Kjos, Meadowlark, Pavane, and Walton.
The choral music of Edwin Fissinger exhibits individuality, a signature that is readily recognizable by those who are familiar with his works. One only need reflect upon the individual qualities of the music to understand his important contribution to the enhancement of the choral art.