Robert Freeman (musician)

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Not to be confused with Bobby Freeman. ‹See Tfd›

Robert Freeman (born 26 August 1935, Rochester, New York) is an American pianist, music educator, and musicologist who is known for leading some of the finest music schools in the United States. He currently teaches at the University of Texas at Austin as Susan Menefee Ragan Regents Professor of Fine Arts. Freeman is a member of the Advisory Board of the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation and is board chair of the Institute for Music and Brain Science at UCLA.

Life and career[edit]

Born into a family of musicians, Freeman grew up in Needham, Massachusetts and attended Milton Academy. His father was a double bass player in the Boston Symphony Orchestra, ultimately principal bass.. In his youth he studied the oboe with Fernand Gillet in addition to studying the piano with Gregory Tucker.He went on concurrently to earn a Bachelor of Music degree with highest honors from Harvard University and a diploma in piano performance from the Longy School of Music in 1957. He also studied privately with Artur Balsam and Rudolf Serkin during the summers of 1955 and 1956. In 1957-58 he held one of Harvard's Sheldon Travelling Fellowships. He went on to pursue graduate studies at Princeton where he was awarded both a MFA and PhD in musicology. A Fulbright Scholarship enabled him to pursue further studies in Vienna in 1960-1962. He was also awarded a Martha Baird Rockefeller Foundation Award in 1962 and later an honorary doctorate from Hamilton College.

In 1963 Freeman joined the music faculty at Princeton, leaving in 1968 to join the music faculty of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1972 he was named director of the Eastman School of Music (University of Rochester), a position he held for 24 years. From the fall of 1996 through the spring of 1999 he served as president of the New England Conservatory, then as dean of the College of Fine Arts at The University of Texas at Austin till 2006. He currently is the Susan Menefee Ragan Regents Professor of Fine Arts at the UTA where he teaches courses in musicology.

A Steinway artist, Freeman has performed in concerts and recitals throughout North America and Europe. He has also made several recordings, mainly with colleagues from Eastman and the University of Texas. As a musicologist, his publications have focused on 18th-century music history and on the history and future of musical education. His book, "The Crisis of Classical Music in America; Lessons from a Life in the Education of Musicians," will be published in August 2014.