The children of Burt Fenner have established the Burt L. Fenner Scholarship in Music Composition in his memory, to provide recognition and financial assistance to undergraduate or graduate students in the School of Music. Fenner, who died in October 2013, was a longtime faculty member in the School of Music, teaching composition, theory and electronic music until his retirement in 1994.
According to Fenner’s son, William, he and his sister, Deborah, wanted to establish the scholarship because their father loved his years teaching composition and theory at Penn State. “He would be very proud to see his already impressive legacy in the School of Music augmented by a scholarship supporting composition. I've spoken to many students whose lives he's touched in the past; this scholarship allows his positive influence to stretch into the future.”
Burt Fenner, who joined the faculty of what would become the Penn State School of Music in 1970, received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in composition from the Mannes College of Music and Columbia University, after serving in the U.S. Navy in the Korean Conflict. For most of his professional career, he spent summers in Rangeley, Maine, where he did much of his composing. While at Penn State, he was recognized for both his composing, receiving grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and his teaching, winning an award from the National University Extension Association for Music 8: The Rudiments of Music, which at the time was an independent-study correspondence course. After his retirement in 1994, Fenner continued to oversee the performance and recording of his compositions, to mentor his former composition students and to run his personal business, D.I. Music Engraving.
A memorial tribute concert, “Fenner Fest: A Celebration of the Life and Music of Burt Fenner (1929–2013),” was held in September 2014.
To contribute to the Burt L. Fenner Scholarship in Music Composition fund, call 1-888-800-9163 or visit http://GiveNow.PSU.edu. Click on “College of Arts and Architecture” and then select “Other.” Type “Burt L. Fenner Scholarship in Music Composition” in the “Additional Information” box.