UMass Amherst pays musical tribute to composer Frederick Tillis


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AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – A musical presentation at UMass Amherst Sunday night paying tribute to one of their own who passed away two years ago.

UMass Music and Dance performed a musical tribute to the late Dr. Frederick Tillis. He died in 2020 and was one of the architects of UMass’ music program.

Tillis was a saxophonist and composer who toured internationally and recorded with students, alumni, and faculty as part of the Tillis-Holmes Duo and the Tradewinds jazz ensemble.

“He was an important leader on this campus,” said Sean Conlon, Operations Manager for the UMass Fine Arts Center. “It’s just really important that we carry the legacy of Fred forward and we continue to honor the tradition of jazz music here at the university.”

Tillis came to UMass in 1970 and brought the music department to national prominence through the quality of its ensembles.

He was 90 years old.

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