Paul Freeman (conductor)

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Paul Douglas Freeman (January 2, 1936 – July 21, 2015) was an American conductor, born in Richmond, Virginia.

Career and education[edit]

Freeman was a conductor, composer, and founder of the Chicago Sinfonietta. Freeman earned bachelor, master, and doctoral degrees from the Eastman School of Music. A Fulbright Scholarship enabled him to study for two years at the Hochshule für Musik (University for Music) in Berlin, Germany with Ewald Lindemann. He later studied conducting with Pierre Monteux at the American Symphony Orchestra.

While pursuing graduate studies at Eastman, Freeman began his conducting career as the music director of the Opera Theatre of Rochester for six years. He then held posts as associate conductor of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra from 1968-1970 and Detroit Symphony Orchestra from 1970-1979. These were followed by a stint as principal guest conductor of the Helsinki Philharmonic. From 1979 to 1989, he served as music director of the Victoria Symphony in Canada. In 1987, he founded the Chicago Sinfonietta of which he remained the Musical Director until his retirement in 2011. Concurrently to his time with the Chicago Sinfonietta, he held the post of music director and chief conductor of the Czech National Symphony Orchestra in Prague since 1996. Following his retirement from the Chicago Sinfonietta in 2011, he was named Emeritus Music Director of the orchestra.

Archival papers[edit]

Paul Freeman's papers known as the Paul Freeman Conductor Scores, Recordings, and Other Material collection is held at the Center for Black Music Research at Columbia College Chicago. The collection spans the years of 1987-2009 and includes scores, audio and video recordings, and a small amount of personal papers. A majority of the scores are annotated by Freeman. The recordings include non-commercial performances by the Chicago Sinfonietta and other orchestras conducted by Freeman.


Paul Freeman can be considered one of the most successful recording conductors from the United States. He has a nine-LP series that follows the history of Black symphonic composers from 1750 to the present day. This series garnered a lot of attention on the Columbia Records label during the 1970s. Freeman also collaborated with pianist Derek Han to record all of the piano concertos of Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven. In his work with numerous orchestras, Freeman has been a part of over a dozen televised productions in North America and Europe. Also, Freeman has been nominated for two Emmy Awards.[1]


Paul Freeman died on July 21, 2015, at the age of 79 in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, due to recent health issues and some long-term "physical challenges". Both his wife Cornelia and son Douglas were at his side when he died, and they are planning a private ceremony in Canada, plus a public memorial service in Chicago in September 2015.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Maestro Paul Freeman – Founding Music Director Profile, PDF format online (Chicago Sinfonietta). Retrieved on July 23, 2015.
  2. ^ Chicago Sinfonetta Founder Paul Freeman Dead at 79: ABC News. Retrieved on July 23, 2015.

External links[edit]