Paul Freeman

Paul Freeman (1936) - African American Conductor.

Paul Freeman was born in Richmond, Virginia in 1936 and grew up there. He studied both clarinet and cello, then earned a Ph.D. at the Eastman School of Music. A Fulbright Grant enabled him to continue his studies in Berlin.

Maestro Freeman is Music Director of the Chicago Sinfonietta, which he founded in 1987 to achieve, in the words of its mission, "Musical Excellence Through Diversity". Its Web site describes the other positions Freeman has held:

In 1996, he was appointed music director and chief conductor of the Czech National Symphony Orchestra in Prague, a position he holds simultaneously with his Chicago Sinfonietta post. From 1979 to 1989, he served as music director of the Victoria Symphony in Canada, principal guest conductor of the Helsinki Philharmonic in Finland, associate conductor of the Dallas and Detroit Symphony Orchestras, and music director of the Opera Theatre of Rochester, New York.

A recipient of the Mahler Award for the European Union of Arts, Freeman is in constant demand as a guest conductor, having led more than 100 orchestras in over 30 countries. As one of America"s most successful recording conductors, he has approximately 200 releases to his credit. His nine-LP series tracing the history of Black symphonic composers from 1750 to the present garnered a great deal of attention on the Columbia label in the mid-1970s.

On January 25, 2005 the Detroit Free Press published a story by music writer Mark Stryker entitled: A BLACK KEY: Conductor Paul Freeman, in town for the Sphinx Competition, adds color to the national classical music scene. Stryker begins with these observations about the Sinfonietta:

Black and Latino musicians account for about 3 percent of the musicians in American orchestras but about 30 percent of the Chicago Sinfonietta.

Most orchestras have practically all-white boards of directors and audiences, but about a third of the Sinfonietta"s board is non-white and about 40 percent of its audience is minority. Most orchestras rarely play music by minority composers, but the Sinfonietta integrates these works throughout its entire season.

When it comes to diversity, this is an orchestra doing a lot of things right. It should come as no surprise that its driving force is founding music director Paul Freeman, the widely-traveled African-American conductor who spearheaded a landmark series of black composer recordings for Columbia in the 1970s when he was resident conductor of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

Freeman has called the Sinfonietta an affirmative action orchestra with no quotas and no numbers. He only selects players for the orchestra who meet the highest performance standards, and no one is displaced to make room for a minority player. But the orchestra keeps an extensive list of substitutes who are black or Hispanic. When an opening comes up, preference is given to a qualified player on the list.

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Holst - The Planets - Paul Freeman (CD)

Holst - The Planets - Paul Freeman (CD)

Holst - The Planets - Paul Freeman - 38622 - Symphony & Chamber Music..

$17.99

Mahler - Symphony No. 1 - Paul Freeman (CD)

Mahler - Symphony No. 1 - Paul Freeman (CD)

Mahler - Symphony No. 1 - Paul Freeman - 38624 - Symphony & Chamber Music..

$17.99

Rachmaninov - Concerto for piano and orchestra No. 2, Preludes for piano, op. 23 - Alessandro De Luca (CD)

Rachmaninov - Concerto for piano and orchestra No. 2, Preludes for piano, op. 23 - Alessandro De Luca (CD)

Rachmaninov - Concerto for piano and orchestra No. 2,Preludes for piano,op. 23 - Alessandro De Luca ..

$17.99

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