Ellis J. Freedman, a pioneer in the field of intellectual property law who served as legal counsel to Aaron Copland, Leonard Bernstein and others from three generations of American composers, died on June 16, 2003 from cancer. He was 82 years old.
Freedman (b. May 3, 1921 in Albany, NY) practiced law in New York City for over 50 years until his retirement in 1996. At the time he retired, he was counsel of the firm Whitman Breed Abbott & Morgan. During his career he made a specialty of representing composers. His clients included John Adams, Elliott Carter, Carlos Chávez, David Del Tredici, Jacob Druckman, Steve Reich, William Schuman, Michael Tilson Thomas, Virgil Thomson, Joan Tower, and many others. He also acted as special counsel to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in connection with the music of Charles Ives. In addition, Mr. Freedman was active in the work of the Koussevitzky Music Foundation and a number of other organizations in the music world. After his retirement, he continued to serve as a director of the Aaron Copland Fund for Music, the Virgil Thomson Foundation, the Charles Ives Society, and the Stefan Wolpe Society. In 1999, Mr. Freedman received a Letter of Distinction from the American Music Center. A public memorial is being planned for Fall 2003.
Read a tribute to Ellis Freedman by Jim Kendrick, a long-time associate and successor at the Copland Fund and Thomson Foundation