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John Fidler

About Me

Music has always been important to me. I bought my first jazz album (John Coltrane's “My Favorite Things”) in college, along with Richard Strauss's “Sinfonia Domestica” (or was it “Ein Heldenleben?”). I guess I like music with sweep.

As a younger man, I studied piano with Julia Shanaman Elmer in my hometown, Reading, Pa. She was a student of Olga Samaroff (who was married to Leopold Stokowski from 1911 to 1923) and the radical composer and pianist Leo Ornstein, who died in 2002 at the age of 109.

After a successful career in public relations, including four years at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant and a couple of years as a consultant, I have returned to my first love, journalism. I began my career in the 1970s as a reporter for the Reading Times, which is no longer published. Since 2003, I've been a copy editor at the Reading Eagle, where I contribute to the Op-Ed, Entertainment and Books pages, and the Weekend section. My piece on the Berks Jazz Fest two years ago raised some dust because it criticized the artistic vision of an otherwise popular annual 10-day gathering of mostly “smooth” jazz entertainers.

Working in the evenings gives me plenty of time to write and volunteer as a court-appointed special advocate for abused and neglected kids. It's rewarding, heartbreaking work.

I was an English major at Ursinus College and The University of Chicago, where I had a course taught by the novelist Saul Bellow and the classicist David Grene.

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