Joseph E. Fields, 53, of Scranton and New York City, died July 4 in Community Medical Center.
Born January 3, 1955, in Miami, Okla., he was a son of Buddy and Betty Fields and graduated summa cum laude in 1977 from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, where he also received his master’s degree in 1979. He received a doctor of musical arts (piano performance) from the Manhattan School of Music in 1985. Dr. Fields was an associate professor, music school administrator and orchestra director at Marywood University since 2005.
From 1998 through 2004, Fields was the music director and principal conductor of the Dance Theatre of Harlem. He conducted orchestras for the company’s many tours, including the Royal Birmingham Sinfonia in London, the Victoria State Orchestrain, Melbourne, Australia, the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra in Washington, D.C., and the Shanghai Broadcast Center Festival opening performance on July 10, 2003 of “St. Louis Woman: A Blues Ballet,” which Fields arranged and orchestrated. Anna Kisselgoff, of The New York Times, wrote that “Joseph E Field’s conducting of the overture left viewers rocking in their seats.”
Fields continued an active schedule of solo piano and chamber music concerts throughout his career. He also gave solo piano concerts at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall and at the Weinbrennersaal in Baden-Baden, Germany. Bernard Holland reviewed the Weill Recital Hall performance on July 1, 1998, writing “how satisfying it was to hear music making in every line, voice and texture had been thought through and cared about ... there was warmth of a musician who cared not just about the effect he was making but for the fabric of the music itself.”
Also surviving his life partner, Ron Melichar, Scranton and New York City; two brothers, David Fields and wife Connie, Miami, Okla.; Daniel Fields and wife Terri, of Tulsa Okla.; a sister, Sara Fields, Tulsa, Okla.
The funeral service was held July 11 in All Saints Episcopal Church, Miami, Okla. Interment was in Fields Cemetery Grove, Okla.
Memorial services are scheduled for September 12 at 7 p.m. at Marywood University in the Schwartz Chapel and September 13 at 2 p.m. in St. Michael’s Church, 99th and Amsterdam in New York City.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Dr. Joseph E. Fields Music Scholarship Fund, Marywood University, c/o The Development Office, 2300 Adams Ave., Scranton, PA 18509.
Arrangements are by the McGoff-Hughes Funeral Home Inc., 1401 Capouse Ave., Scranton.