Steve Reich on Betty Freeman



Betty Freeman was the recipient of an AMC Founder’s Award although she could not attend the reception
Photo montage by David Hockney courtesy Betty Freeman

As many of you may know, Betty Freeman was unable to come to New York to receive this award but she promises to be in town this September when her show of photographs of composers opens at Carnegie Hall. In the meantime, it is my pleasure and honor to accept this award on her behalf.

There are so many composers and other artists who have benefited from Betty Freeman’s generous support over the last 40 years that I could not think of anything better to say about her than to simply read to you a list of those she has helped. In alphabetical order they are:

  • John Adams—Betty helped with many of his works including Nixon in China—with a grant in 1985 and 2 grants in 1987 to assist with composing.
  • George Benjamin
  • Harrison Birtwistle
  • Philippe Boesmans
  • Henry Brant
  • Earle Brown
  • John Cage—who received an annual grant for living expenses from 1965 to his death. The Freeman Etudes 1975 -1991 are dedicated to Betty Freeman
  • Colburn School Of Performing Arts
  • David Cope
  • Merce Cunningham—who has received annual grants from1988 to the present
  • Charles Dodge
  • Dogs Of Desire (New music group in Albany)
  • Paul Dresher
  • Jacob Druckman
  • Ensemble Intercontemporain
  • Robert Erickson
  • Morton Feldman
  • Lorenzo Ferrero
  • Beat Furrer
  • Peter Garland
  • Philip Glass—who received support in 1970’s for his recordings, including Music in Twelve Parts.
  • Alexander Goehr
  • Lou Harrison—Betty Commissioned Lou’s Piano Concerto (1988) for Keith Jarrett. She also gave him a grant to cover costs of the gamelan Si Betty.
  • Bill T. Jones—who has received Annual grants since 1991 for his dance company.
  • William Kraft
  • Daniel Lentz
  • Magnus Lindberg
  • Israel “Cachao” Lopez
  • Witold Lutoslawski—Betty co-commissioned his Symphony No.4 for the L.A. Philharmonic in 1993.
  • Tod Machover
  • Steven Mackey
  • Ingram Marshall
  • Leon Milo
  • Thea Musgrave
  • Conlon Nancarrow—Betty began supporting his work from 1985 until his death.
  • Harry Partch—Betty gave him grants for living 1964 -1974. She also formed the Harry Partch Foundation in 1972 and financed it and directed it for one year.
  • Matthias Pintscher
  • Mel Powell
  • Steve Reich—Has received annual grants from 1980 to date and earlier grants for Music for 18 Musicians in 1974/75. Betty also commissioned Different Trains among other works.
  • Terry Riley—Betty commissioned Salome Dances for Peace Parts II and V 1986
  • Ned Rorem
  • Christopher Rouse
  • Frederic Rzewski
  • Kaija Saariaho
  • Esa-Pekka Salonen
  • Steven Schick
  • Peter Sellars—received grants for directing through the 1990s.
  • Nicolas Slonimsky—Betty gave him annual grants from 1988 to his death.
  • Dorrance Stalvey
  • Leonard Stein
  • Marco Stroppa
  • Morton Subotnick
  • James Tenney
  • Virgil Thomson—received grants for production and later, recording, of his opera The Mother of us All in the 1970s.
  • Robert Wilson—Betty has given him annual grants for his theatrical work since 1988.
  • La Monte Young—received annual grants 1961 through the 1970’s.

Betty Freeman has supported 56 different composers and other artists for the last 40 years. There is no application to fill out, no committees, just a dedicated person who has loved music, dance, and theater and done something about it. Betty Freeman is absolutely unique.

Not only has she supported these artists, she has photographed them and many others in a series of superb portraits, many of which we can all see at Carnegie Hall this September.

For myself and on behalf of all those I have just mentioned, I want to thank Betty for her generous support, for her fine photographs, and for being such an extraordinary person.

Get well soon Betty; we all look forward to seeing you here in New York this fall.