In Monday’s (10/1) Washington Post, Stefani Dazio writes, “Fred Begun, a Brooklyn-born Juilliard graduate who spent 48 years as principal timpanist of the National Symphony Orchestra, died Sept. 23 at George Washington University Hospital. He was 84. He died of complications from a single-car accident three weeks ago, said his daughter Rosalie Begun. Two months after graduating in 1951 with a percussion degree from the Juilliard School in New York, Mr. Begun became the timpanist for the NSO. It was a rare symphony orchestra vacancy in an era where most timpanists found jobs in radio and TV studio orchestras. His earliest ambitions were in jazz, and he was smitten by the animated playing of drummer-bandleader Gene Krupa in the 1930s and 1940s. Mr. Begun channeled that jaunty showmanship into his symphonic career—he was frequently described as a dancer behind the drums. … One of the highlights of his career was playing composer Robert Parris’s Concerto for Five Kettle-Drums and Orchestra in 1958. … After retirement from the NSO in 1999, Mr. Begun volunteered with the Mighty Special Music Makers, a group of musicians with mental and physical disabilities, and occasionally sat in with local jazz groups as a drummer.”

Posted October 1, 2012