Betty Freeman (1921-2009)

New music patron and photographer Betty Freeman died on January 3, 2009, from pancreatic cancer. She was 87.

Betty Freeman
Betty Freeman photographing composers at Ojai in 2000
Photo by Jeffrey Herman
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Freeman was a major philanthropist for new music who supported the work of many important American composers, among them John Adams, John Cage, Lou Harrison, Harry Partch, and Steve Reich. Several composers reciprocated the generosity by naming works after her, e.g. John Cage’s Freeman Etudes for solo violin and Lou Harrison’s Serenade for Betty Freeman & Franco Assetto, co-dedicated to Freeman’s husband, Italian sculptor Franco Assetto (1911-1991)

A student of Ansel Adams in her youth, Betty Freeman in later years returned to photography and devoted much of her energies to photographing important contemporary composers. Her photographs of composers have been widely published and exhibited. (A selection of them can be seen here.) —FJO