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Hemke, Fred



Frederick L. Hemke was born July 11, 1935, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to a family of artists (his grandparents were professional actors and his great-grandmother was a painter). He married to the former Junita Borg; they had two children, Elizabeth and Frederic. An accomplished painter, Hemke's artwork has been displayed at the Faculty Club at Northwestern, as well as off-campus venues.

In 1956, he was the first American ever to earn a Premier Prix du Saxophone, at the Conservatoire National de Musique, Paris, France, where he studied under Marcel Mule. He received his BS at the University of Wisconsin (Milwaukee) and a Master of Music Education from the Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester. He did post-graduate study at Northwestern University and the Eastman School of Music, and received his Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of Wisconsin.

He came to Northwestern in 1962 as a teaching associate, became an assistant professor in 1964 (when he was also made chairman of the newly-formed Winds and Percussion Instruments department), and associate professor in 1967. He was appointed a full Professor of Music at Northwestern University on September 1, 1975; he was named chairman of the Department of Music Performance Studies at the School of Music on September 1, 1991. He also served as senior associate dean for administration in the School of Music from 1995 to 2001, and was named senior associate dean emeritus in 2002.

Hemke was the Northwestern University faculty representative to the Big Ten Conference from 1981 to 2001 and served as the Big Ten faculty representative to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). He has served on numerous Big Ten committees, including the management review and finance committee (where he served as chairman) and the search committee to identify current Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany (also serving as chairman). He also served as the Big Ten Conference representative to the NCAA Council.

Hemke served on numerous university-wide committees, including the Northwestern Community Council, Committee on Admission and Financial Aid to Students, and the Committee on Educational Policies and the Committee to Construct New Undergraduate Housing. He was the chair of the Committee on Athletics and Recreation.

In 1968, he was selected by the Northwestern University student body as one of 10 outstanding faculty members. He was Northwestern University's nominee, in both 1987 and 1989, for the national Professor of the Year award. He received the Northwestern Alumni Association Excellence in Teaching Award in 1993. In 2002, he was named the Louis and Elsie Savdacker Eckstein Professor of Music, and in 2004, he was named a Charles Deering McCormick Professor of Teaching Excellence.

An internationally recognized saxophonist, he appeared as a soloist and gave master classes and lectures throughout the United States and in Canada, the Scandinavian countries and the Far East. He was the leader of a U.S. Department of State cultural exchange tour to the Far East in 1966.

His appearances as a soloist with symphony orchestras around the world include the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Stockholm Philharmonic, Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, New Zealand Philharmonic Orchestra, and the (Seoul) Korea Philharmonic Orchestra, among others. He has also been a featured soloist at the World Saxophone Congress (in its inaugural year, and has been invited each year since).

Hemke has been a distinguished visiting professor at the Conservatoire National de Musique, Paris, France; the Sweelinck Conservatory of Music, Amsterdam, Holland; and the Basel Conservatory of Music, Basel, Switzerland. He has been an artist-in-residence at Musik Högre Skola, Arvika, Sweden, and was a distinguished lecturer at 11e Biennale Internationale d'Organologie, Hyeres, France. He has been a visiting professor at numerous universities in the United States.

He served as an adjudicator at the Conservatoire de Musique, Quebec, Canada; North American Saxophone Alliance, Interlochen, Michigan; Concours International, Gap, France; Concours International, Geneva, Switzerland; Concours Sweelinck, Amsterdam, Holland; Japan National Instrumental Competition; Concours International, Insesund, Sweden; and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra/WTTW Illinois Youth Competition.

He released numerous solo albums, and appeared as a soloist on other recordings, as well as appearing as a saxophonist on six recordings by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, including works conducted by Seiji Ozawa, Leopold Stokowski, and Sir Georg Solti.

As a consultant, Hemke worked with the La Voz Corporation of Sun Valley, California, and the Selmer Company of Elkhart, Indiana, and did editorial work for the Southern Music Company of San Antonio, Texas.

Hemke's professional and honorary memberships include Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Pi Kappa Lambda, and Kappa Kappa Psi, as well as the College Music Society and the Illinois Music Educators Association. He has also been a sitting member of the board of directors, and a previous Vice-Chair, for the Swedish-American Historical Society. Biographical entries on Hemke appear in the New Grove Dictionary of Music, the Encyclopedie de la Musique, Who's Who in American Music, and Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians, as well as in other publications.

Hemke died April 17, 2019.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Frederick L. Hemke (1935-2019) Papers

Identifier: 19/3/11
Abstract In 1956, Frederick L. Hemke was appointed as Professor of Music at Northwestern University in 1975. Hemke was the Northwestern University faculty representative to the Big Ten Conference from 1981 to 2001 and served as the Big Ten faculty representative to the NCAA. He has served on numerous Big Ten committees, including the management review and finance committee where he served as chairman. The Frederick L. Hemke Papers span the years 1962 to 2004.The Papers document Hemke's career at...
Dates: 1962 - 2004; Other: Majority of material found within 1990 - 2000