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Harry Ellis Dickson

Violinist, conductor

Harry Ellis Dickson, the violinist and conductor who was a decades-long fixture at the Boston Symphony Orchestra and father-in-law of former Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis, died March 29 in Boston. He was 94.

The violinist also was the former music director at the Boston Classic Orchestra.

Cambridge, Mass., native graduated from Somerville High School and the New England Conservatory of Music. He began his career with the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1938 and played with the orchestra for 49 seasons.

A close friend of Boston Pops founder Arthur Fiedler, Dickson was named assistant conductor of the Boston Pops in 1958 and founded the Boston Symphony’s Youth Concert series in 1959.

Dickson became associate Pops conductor in 1980 and was appointed the Boston Classic Orchestra music director in 1983.

The symphony named him music director laureate in 1999 and paid tribute to him last spring at the concert opening the Pops’ 117th season.

During the program, his daughter, Kitty Dukakis, recalled how her father led the band in “The Waltzing Kitty” at her high school graduation.

Dickson wrote several books, including “More Dolce Please” and “Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops.”

Besides Kitty, he is survived by his daughter Jinny Dickson Peters and many grandchildren.

Donations may be made to the Harry Ellis Dickson Conducting Foundation, New England Conservatory of Music, Boston.

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