Paul Freeman

Paul Freeman


• 1936 2015


Conductor Paul Freeman pursued an active career on both sides of the Atlantic. He received his Ph.D. from the Eastman School of Music and later studied with Ewald Lindemann in Berlin as a Fulbright scholar. He received several awards, including first prize in the Mitropoulos International Conducting Competition, the Mahler Award for the European Union of Arts, and honorary doctorate degrees from Dominican and Loyola Universities. He appeared as guest conductor with over 100 orchestras, such as the Moscow Philharmonic, the National Symphony, the New York Philharmonic, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony, the London Philharmonic, the Royal Philharmonic, the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, the Warsaw Philharmonic, the National Orchestra of Mexico, the Israel Sinfonietta, the Leipzig Radio Orchestra, the Berlin Symphony Orchestra, the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra, and the Bratislava Philharmonic. Freeman was the music director of the Chicago Sinfonietta, which he founded in 1987. In 1996, he was also appointed music director and chief conductor of the Czech National Symphony Orchestra in Prague. Other positions he held include music director of the Victoria (Canada) Symphony, principal guest conductor of the Helsinki Philharmonic, associate conductor of the Dallas and Detroit symphony orchestras, and music director of the Opera Theatre of Rochester (New York). He was nominated for two Emmy awards for his televised performances. One of America's most-recorded conductors, Freeman has a discography of over 200 releases. One of his earliest recordings to attract critical attention was a series for Columbia tracing the accomplishments of black symphonic composers. Freeman has made a traversal of the complete piano concertos of Mozart (with the London Philharmonic), as well as those of Haydn (with the English Chamber Orchestra), and Beethoven (with the Berlin Symphony), all with pianist Derek Han. Freeman was also prolific in recording light classics and music theater. He conducted the Orchestra of the Americas in an eight-disc series entitled Aspects of Broadway, featuring excerpts from some 40 Broadway musicals. In 1974, he won the Koussevitzky International Recording Award for his recording of the Cordero violin concerto. Freeman retired in 2011, donating his collection of scores and other materials to the Center for Black Music Research at Columbia College Chicago.