Sad news: Chicago maestro dies

Founder of the Chicago Sinfonietta and a widely known guest conductor, Paul Freeman has died at 79.

Born in Richmond, Va., Paul conducted more than 100 orchestras in over 30 countries and made around 90 recordings, many of them in London and Prague. He retired four years ago in declining health.

His papers are held at the Center for Black Music Research at Columbia College, Chicago.

paul freeman

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  • To tour with Paul Freeman and his Chicago Sinfonietta, soloists
    and Choir was a pure joy in every Aspekt.
    Three times we toured together in the 90th, Germany, Switzerland
    and Spain… Westside Story, Porgy and Bess and Candide.
    American culture at its best!
    Great musician and maybe the most warmhearted person
    I have ever met in Music Business.
    Paul, you will never be forgotten by those who knew you.
    Thank you! R.I.P.

  • Mr. Freeman was underrated and definitely deserved a chance to be music director of a larger American orchestra. Unfortunately, the attitudes toward African-American conductors in the United States have hardly advanced since the days of conductors such as Henry Lewis and Dean Dixon; indeed, one can argue that there has been retrogression. One problem is that, in the United States, the job of a music director at a major orchestra involves substantial fundraising from society types who are barely accepting of Jews, much less African-Americans. These people spend their virtually their entire lives in a barricaded, segregated world. The only thing that might break through this is public funding, but this will not happen in the current American political climate.

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